Milk Of Human Kindness Definition Essay

milk of human kindness

Fig. natural kindness and sympathy shown to others. (From Shakespeare's play Macbeth, I. v.) Mary is completely hard and selfish—she doesn't have the milk of human kindness in her.Roger is too full of the milk of human kindness and people take advantage of him.

See also: human, kindness, milk, of

the milk of human kindness

care and compassion for others.

This phrase comes from Macbeth. In Lady Macbeth's soliloquy on the subject of her husband's character, she remarks: ‘Yet I do fear thy nature; It is too full o' the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way’.

See also: human, kindness, milk, of

the milk of human ˈkindness

kind feelings: There’s not much of the milk of human kindness in him. I’ve never known such a hard man.This expression comes from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.

See also: human, kindness, milk, of

milk of human kindness

Compassion or benevolence. Shakespeare again, but this time Macbeth. Lady Macbeth regrets that her husband doesn't have the overwhelming ambition that she has by saying, “Yet do I fear thy nature, It is too full o' th' milk of human kindness. To catch the nearest way.” Macbeth heeds his wife, schemes and murders his way to the throne, and is then deposed and killed. The milk must have curdled. A compliment to a sweetheart of a person is to say that he or she is “full of the milk of human kindness.”

See also: human, kindness, milk, of

The Milk of Human Kindness Meaning

Definition: Sympathy, care, and friendliness.

Origin of Milk of Human Kindness

This expression comes from the English playwright William Shakespeare. He used it in his play Macbeth, in the year 1605.

In the play, Lady Macbeth tells her husband,

  • Yet doe I feare thy Nature, It is too full o’ th’ Milke of humane kindnesse.

In this passage, Lady Macbeth was not sure if her husband would be able to act as ruthlessly as he might have to as king. He was too filled with the milk of human kindness.

Examples of Milk of Human Kindness

Here is an example of a math professor using the expression with a student who recently got back to school after experiencing a death in the family.

Student: Hello, Mrs. Cooper. I’m ready to take the test.

Teacher: Are you sure? I heard about the death in your family. You don’t need to take the test now. We can reschedule it at any point later in the semester, so you have time to grieve and time to study and prepare.

Student: Really? That would be great! Thank you so much! I expected you to force me to take the test.

Teacher: Well, I’m not completely devoid of the milk of human kindness. I care about the wellbeing of my students, and I want you all to succeed. And if something happens that is very challenging for any of my students, I want to try to help them if I can. You can come to me if you need to talk, or if there’s anything that I can do.

Student: Thank you!

In this example, two friends are discussing what happened to one of them over the weekend.

Monica: I had the worst weekend!

Janice: Oh no! What happened?

Monica: I was walking home alone because I didn’t have money to take the bus, and this strange man started following me. I kept walking faster and faster to try to get away, but then he started running after me! I was so scared!

Janice: That’s terrifying! How did you escape?

Monica: This bus driver saw what was happening and let me ride the bus even though I had no fare.

Janice: Wow! It’s great to see that the milk of human kindness still exists!

Monica: True!

More Examples

This excerpt is from a book review. It is saying that people who both read the book and are not very nice may like one of the characters.

  • Readers deficient in the milk of human kindness may warm to tart-tongued Maja. –Denver Post

The second excerpt is about how people are not friendly towards child abusers.

  • For many of us, the milk of human kindness evaporates swiftly when children are violated. –Chicago Tribune


The idiomthe milk of human kindness is another way to refer to compassion.

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