femme fatale

femme fa·​tale | \ˌfem-fə-ˈtal, ˌfam-, -ˈtäl \
plural femmes fatales\ ˌfem-​fə-​ˈtal(z) , ˌfam-​, -​ˈtäl(z) \

Definition of femme fatale 

1 : a seductive woman who lures men into dangerous or compromising situations

2 : a woman who attracts men by an aura of charm and mystery

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Synonyms for femme fatale


enchantress, seductress, siren, temptress

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Examples of femme fatale in a Sentence

an actress who was often cast as cynical, sexy femmes fatales

Recent Examples on the Web

Missick is particularly mesmerizing as the femme fatale who injects a film noir aspect to the proceedings. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Paradise Blue': Theater Review," 15 May 2018 Reprisal is described as a hyper-kinetic revenge tale following a relentless femme fatale who, after being left for dead, leads a vengeful campaign against a bombastic gang of gearheads. Bryn Elise Sandberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hulu Orders Revenge Drama Pilot 'Reprisal' From 'Handmaid's Tale' Producer," 18 June 2018 Nefarious politicians, crime dons, illicit arms dealers and femmes fatales with dresses cut up to here populate scene after scene, set amid the Gulf’s glittering nightclubs, luxury hotels and wide-open desert highways. Lisa Tsering, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Race 3': Film Review," 18 June 2018 The song follows a simple narrative of Drake, yet again, getting into a qualm with a femme fatale -- a subject MJ definitely knew a thing or two about. Scott Glaysher, Billboard, "Ranking Each Song From the B-Side of Drake's 'Scorpion' Album: Critic's Take," 30 June 2018 Next up, Lili reacted to a Dark Betty tutorial, in which artist Bronte Jones reimagines her alter-ego's look with the help of color contacts, a black cat-eye, and a glossy, femme fatale red lip. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Lili Reinhart Reacts to Riverdale Betty Cooper Makeup Tutorials," 27 June 2018 But perhaps also like a femme fatale, she can be tamed, and then, like a damsel in distress, rescued, thanks to Alex’s resources and his apparently unlimited forgiveness and generosity. Lily Janiak, San Francisco Chronicle, "Actors keep mediocre ‘Heisenberg’ aloft at ACT," 22 Mar. 2018 The plot was thwarted by Batman, but the femme fatale may have stolen his heart. George Gene Gustines, New York Times, "It Just Wasn’t Meant to Be, Batman," 1 July 2018 She was often cast as the femme fatale or villain, including the mastermind in 1946's Dressed to Kill, sparring with Sherlock Holmes, played by Basil Rathbone. Mark Kennedy And Andrew Dalton, USA TODAY, "Patricia Morison, the original 'Kiss Me, Kate' star, dies at 103," 20 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'femme fatale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of femme fatale

1912, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for femme fatale

French, literally, disastrous woman

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Last Updated

25 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for femme fatale

The first known use of femme fatale was in 1912

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More Definitions for femme fatale

femme fatale


English Language Learners Definition of femme fatale

: a very attractive woman who causes trouble or unhappiness for the men who become involved with her

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What made you want to look up femme fatale? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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