Definition of Mata Hari in English:

Mata Hari

proper noun

  • 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. 1.1as noun a Mata Hari A beautiful and seductive female spy.
      ‘a Mata Hari of world finance’
      • ‘If you haven't seen ‘Hare Meets Herr,’ or the one where a Mata Hari pigeon seduces Daffy, you haven't lived.’
      • ‘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.’
      temptress, siren, femme fatale, enchantress, sorceress, delilah, circe, lorelei
      View synonyms


From Malay mata ‘eye’ and hari ‘day’, as a compound meaning ‘sun’.


Mata Hari

/ˌmɑːtə ˈhɑːri/