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Where does the saying "The crying baby gets the milk" come from? I don't think it's from English.

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In Spanish we say "el que no llora, no mama", which is almost a literal translation of "the crying baby gets the milk". –  user42700 Apr 17 '13 at 21:22
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@Gus That's stretching the meaning of "literal" quite a lot. –  RegDwigнt Apr 17 '13 at 22:43
    
@Reg ... hence "almost", perhaps? I believe the point Gus was making is valid; while the phrase is not a word for word direct translation, the underlying meaning is obviously extremely similar. –  David John Welsh May 11 '13 at 5:03
    
@DavidJohnWelsh Literal has a literal meaning. “He who does not cry, does not nurse” is the literal translation. That’s quite different from the title of this posting. –  tchrist May 11 '13 at 12:27
    
@Reg I think we can agree that the phrase is not a literal translation. I am of the opinion however that it might be considered an "almost literal" translation, given that the underlying meaning is the same, even if the superficial construction is different. I humbly suggest that you may be being a tad overcritical in this case, though I admit I may be being a tad lenient. Anyway, we should probably let it drop.... –  David John Welsh May 13 '13 at 11:53

2 Answers 2

The English equivalent would be, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." I don't recognize the milk idiom though.

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"The crying baby gets the milk" does seem to have English roots and relatively common usage; perhaps more in B.E. than A.E. –  KeithS Jul 20 '11 at 16:35
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Not to this B.E. speaker. Never heard it before. –  Colin Fine Jul 20 '11 at 16:49
    
@Colin. This native B.E. speaker has heard neither the 'crying baby' idiom nor the 'squeaky wheel' idiom previously. –  TrevorD May 11 '13 at 13:59

It's actually from Tamil, meaning "if you want something you must ask for it".

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I count no fewer than 10 errors in that one small line. This may be a new record. –  tchrist May 10 '13 at 23:35

protected by RegDwigнt May 11 '13 at 4:58

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