femme fatale


femme fa·​tale ˌfem-fə-ˈtal How to pronounce femme fatale (audio)
-ˈtäl How to pronounce femme fatale (audio)
plural femmes fatales ˌfem-fə-ˈtal(z) How to pronounce femme fatale (audio)
: a seductive woman who lures men into dangerous or compromising situations
: a woman who attracts men by an aura of charm and mystery

Examples of femme fatale in a Sentence

an actress who was often cast as cynical, sexy femmes fatales
Recent Examples on the Web Somerville and Capper have created a femme fatale universe where everything is, to steal a phrase from Hilton, totally hot. Cassandra Pintro, Vogue, 24 Mar. 2023 Both publications featured the iconic Beardsley woman: an imperious, smoldering figure who might be read as a feminist or a femme fatale. Colton Valentine, The New Yorker, 13 Feb. 2023 Illuminated by the soft glow of chandeliers — a reference to the ballroom at Paris’s InterContinental hotel, the frequent site of Saint Laurent’s presentations — the women summoned the femmes fatales of Helmut Newton photographs. Nick Haramis Lise Sarfati Delphine Danhier, New York Times, 5 Sep. 2023 The star is Will Smith, who delivered the most famous slap in Oscar history; the femme fatale is Angelina Jolie, who delivered the most famous kiss in Oscar history; and there’s a supporting role for longtime Oscar snubbee Martin Scorsese. Vulture, 2 June 2023 Rather than a wild-eyed femme fatale, the film opts for a Carmen (Melissa Barrera) who’s a Mexican immigrant heading north after her mother’s murder. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 19 Apr. 2023 Symbol: Scorpion Scorpios are the femme fatale type, and their borderline psychic ability is one of their strongest assets. Sabrina Talbert, Women's Health, 18 Apr. 2023 In addition to exposing these cinematic icons to her, Kruger says that her grandmother inhabited the figure of a femme fatale in her own rite. Erik Morse, Vogue, 16 Feb. 2023 Have you ever been lured in by a femme fatale and taken on a wild journey? Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone, 20 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'femme fatale.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, literally, disastrous woman

First Known Use

1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of femme fatale was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near femme fatale

Cite this Entry

“Femme fatale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/femme%20fatale. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

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