Definition of femme fatale in English:

femme fatale

nounPlural femmes fatales

  • An attractive and seductive woman, especially one who will ultimately cause distress to a man who becomes involved with her.

    ‘a femme fatale who plays one man off against another in pursuit of money’
    • ‘My true passionate attack on the cinema is the legend of the femme fatale.’
    • ‘The female baddie is usually the sexy femme fatale.’
    • ‘And although she delights in playing femmes fatales, she is most frequently cast as a small-town girl - an innocent with a steel core.’
    • ‘Yet to many observers these are the femmes fatales of the markets - seductive but essentially destructive temptresses.’
    • ‘Elijah expected a beautiful mirage of glittering, ethereal beauty, the ultimate femme fatale, but now he knew not what to think.’
    • ‘She has become a franchise rather than a femme fatale.’
    • ‘Is it any longer possible, though, for a femme fatale to seem new?’
    • ‘Those are not usually the characteristics of the femme fatale, but I loved that.’
    • ‘She is the femme fatale whose seductive voice, glamorous hair, and voluptuous body Rita Hayworth lent to the screen in 1946.’
    • ‘He claims to be smitten with Vera and strikes a deal with Ford to have a private, paid meeting with the young femme fatale.’
    • ‘‘I sound like someone you might want to have an affair with, so I play all sorts of femmes fatales,’ she says, with obvious enjoyment.’
    • ‘Christine Chung plays the femme fatale, Mavis, with seductive intensity that inveigles poor Trevor into her arms.’
    • ‘He won't find a good socialist wife there, just married Mayfair femmes fatales.’
    • ‘At the time of its creation, Klimt's painting was considered the incarnation of the femme fatale.’
    • ‘Stanwyck, one of the smartest actors to find stardom in Hollywood, played femmes fatales with sandpaper souls through most of the 40s.’
    • ‘It's the night that she is the princess, the belle of the ball, the femme fatale.’
    • ‘When she attracts Lester, a bored and corrupt cop, she becomes a passive femme fatale.’
    temptress, siren, enchantress, sorceress, delilah, circe, lorelei, mata hari
    seductress, temptress, siren, enchantress, sorceress, charmer
    View synonyms


Early 20th century: French, literally ‘disastrous woman’.


femme fatale

/ˌfam fəˈtɑːl/