if looks could kill

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

In chapter XVI of Bram Stoker's Dracula in a diary entry of Dr. Seward, he notes about the undead Lucy Westerna that "If ever a face meant death--if looks could kill--we saw it at that moment."

An ellipsis (anapodoton) for an expression such as "If looks could kill, her look would have led to a murder of the person she was looking at."

A possible origin of the phrase comes from the legend of Medusa, who had the power to turn anyone who looked at her into stone.

Phrase[edit]

if looks could kill

  1. (idiomatic) Used to characterize a look of strong hostility

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]