I know that the liquid from animal (cow, etc) are considered milk. But how do you know feature a liquid to appoint as milk? There's the vegetable liquids (soy, nuts, ...) which are also considered milks. What liquid needs to be a milk? the juice is a milk, for example?

1 Answer 1


It has to remind people of milk in looks and consistency and not be too strongly flavored of something else.

Really, there is no authority which appoints stuff as "milk". If it looks sufficiently like milk, it is likely that people will call it milk. If it is edible and available in large quantities (unlike the milk of, say, Euphorbia) people will try using it as milk - drinking it pure, adding it to coffee, making crepes with it, etc and thinking of it as just another kind of milk.

If you are unhappy with this answer because it doesn't list an objective decision criterion for dividing stuff into "milk" and "not milk", you need to realize that we are not dealing with mathematical sets here, but with cultural categories. Cultural categories are ill-defined, and membership in one is determined primarily by perceived similarities to the prototypical member of the category, in this case visual similarity to cow's milk.

  • 2
    ...and the milk production councils/boards/committees of various countries get conniptions at this fact, but it is nevertheless a fact. (There was something in the news a few years ago in the US about milk producers not wanting to allow almond milk to be called milk. I don't remember the outcome, except that the almond milk at the store still says, well, almond milk.)
    – Marti
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 15:39
  • milk of magnesia Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 15:54
  • dandelion milk? (the white liquid that comes out when you break the stem)
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 16:07

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