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

In John Doyle’s revival, Anika Noni Rose stars as a femme fatale with David Aron Damane and Clifton Duncan as the other points in this love triangle. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "11 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 21 June 2018 What meager charms remain can be credited mainly to the actors, including Clarke, intriguingly reticent as a love interest and possible femme fatale. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "'Solo: A Star Wars Story' never gets off the ground, but don't blame Alden Ehrenreich," 16 May 2018 And should said moments function as a lesson in French girl beauty—from femme fatale to ingenue—all the better. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Bella Hadid Reveals Two Femme Fatale Makeup Looks in Paris," 27 Sep. 2018 It's rendered especially captivating by the long overdue return to musical theater of Anika Noni Rose in a sizzling take on the title role, dressed to kill or be killed in femme fatale red. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Carmen Jones': Theater Review," 28 June 2018 There was another factor, too: Judy's notions of herself as a femme fatale, and as a woman who was dependent on men, were essential to her romantic self-image. Country Living, "Judy Garland and Sid Luft's Star-Crossed Love Affair," 2 Mar. 2017 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

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

1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for femme fatale

French, literally, disastrous woman

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Statistics for femme fatale

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for femme fatale

The first known use of femme fatale was in 1879

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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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Comments on femme fatale

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


a complex dispute or argument

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