a face that launched a thousand ships

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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. They say that Aunt Betty had a face that launched a thousand ships back in the day. I guess that's why she was married five times.
See also: face, launch, ship, that, thousand
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The role of the woman with "the face that launched a thousand ships" is inhabited by a beefy middle-aged man who plays three other characters as well--including one of Helen's would-be murderers.
The face that launched a thousand ships acquires an engaging, intelligent and surprisingly guileless voice in George's sweeping novel.
Hers was the face that launched a thousand ships, but who could possibly be beautiful enough to play Helen Of Troy on the big screen?