Definition of Mata Hari in US 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.
      • ‘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

Origin

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

Pronunciation

Mata Hari

/ˈmätə ˈhärē/