Definition of femme fatale in US English:

femme fatale

nounPlural femmes fatales

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

    • ‘She is the femme fatale whose seductive voice, glamorous hair, and voluptuous body Rita Hayworth lent to the screen in 1946.’
    • ‘She has become a franchise rather than a femme fatale.’
    • ‘He won't find a good socialist wife there, just married Mayfair femmes fatales.’
    • ‘The female baddie is usually the sexy femme fatale.’
    • ‘Yet to many observers these are the femmes fatales of the markets - seductive but essentially destructive temptresses.’
    • ‘And although she delights in playing femmes fatales, she is most frequently cast as a small-town girl - an innocent with a steel core.’
    • ‘Stanwyck, one of the smartest actors to find stardom in Hollywood, played femmes fatales with sandpaper souls through most of the 40s.’
    • ‘At the time of its creation, Klimt's painting was considered the incarnation of the femme fatale.’
    • ‘Is it any longer possible, though, for a femme fatale to seem new?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘He claims to be smitten with Vera and strikes a deal with Ford to have a private, paid meeting with the young femme fatale.’
    • ‘Elijah expected a beautiful mirage of glittering, ethereal beauty, the ultimate femme fatale, but now he knew not what to think.’
    • ‘Christine Chung plays the femme fatale, Mavis, with seductive intensity that inveigles poor Trevor into her arms.’
    • ‘Those are not usually the characteristics of the femme fatale, but I loved that.’
    • ‘My true passionate attack on the cinema is the legend of the 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’.