[Ads-l] antedating (?) of milli-helen

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 1 22:56:21 UTC 2021

David Daniel wrote:
> I never heard of a mili-helen, but when I was in school (USC-Troy-Trojans)
> in the late sixties, the deal was "If Helen of Troy launched a thousand
> ships, then..." It started there and went down to one leaky rowboat, and
> then to "the leaky rowboat turned around an went home."

While searching I came across thematically similar statements.

[ref] 1929 December 8, New York Times, Mural Art Picks Up by Edward
Alden Jewell, Quote Page X14, Column 6, New York. (ProQuest) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
. . . some terrifyingly grandiose woman with flowing robes and a face
so cold, so correct, so empty that it could not possibly launch one
ship, let alone a thousand . . .
[End excerpt]

[ref] 1939 September 17, The El Paso Times, Shadow Over Hill House by
Elliott Fillion, (Written For and Released by Central Press
Association), Quote Page 10, Column 3, El Paso, Texas.
(Newspapers_com) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
He loves to tease, just as Rhoda does. I, with my red head and face
which will never launch one ship, let alone a thousand, come in for a
lot of his good-natured banter.
[End excerpt]


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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