One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(1876–1917), Dutch dancer and secret agent; born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle. She probably worked for both French and German intelligence services before being executed by the French in 1917.
- 1.1as noun a Mata Hari A beautiful and seductive female spy.‘a Mata Hari of world finance’
temptress, siren, femme fatale, enchantress, sorceress, delilah, circe, loreleiView synonyms
- ‘If it is hard to see her as a bit of a Mata Hari - and one would rather not - it is even harder to believe that she was a keen stamp collector, holding on to her albums to the end.’
- ‘If you haven't seen ‘Hare Meets Herr,’ or the one where a Mata Hari pigeon seduces Daffy, you haven't lived.’
- 1.1as noun a Mata Hari A beautiful and seductive female spy.
From Malay mata ‘eye’ and hari ‘day’, as a compound meaning ‘sun’.
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