a face that launched a thousand ships

a face that launched a thousand ships

Incredible beauty. A reference to Helen of Troy, men's desire of whom is commonly ascribed as the cause of the Trojan War. Often used in parallel constructions describing an extreme quality in someone. When I looked in the mirror, I didn't see a face that launched a thousand ships. I just saw a tired old woman who had frittered her life away. If Helen of Troy had a face that launched a thousand ships, then William Shakespeare had a pen that launched a thousand English phrases.
See also: face, launch, ship, that, thousand
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