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Femme fatale

Posted by Masakim on May 24, 2003

In Reply to: Femme fatale posted by Bruce Kahl on May 24, 2003

: : What is the meaning of the above expression? I assumed it is French. Thanks.

: One entry found for femme fatale.

: Main Entry: femme fa·tale
: Pronunciation: "fem-f&-'tal, "fam-, -'täl
: Function: noun
: Inflected Form(s): plural femmes fa·tales /-'tal(z), -'täl(z)/
: Etymology: French, literally, disastrous woman
: Date: 1912
: 1 : a seductive woman who lures men into dangerous or compromising situations
: 2 : a woman who attracts men by an aura of charm and mystery

femme fatale is a French expression, literally meaning "fatal woman." It's used to refer to the glamorous dame in mystery or spy stories who betrays -- or tries to betray -- the hero. History's most famous _femme fatale_, we suppose, was Mata Hari, noted spy of World War I.
From Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, Second Edition_ by William & Mary Morris
I suppose such corny little manifestations of endearment were what she thought appropriate to her role as a femme fatale. (Len Deighton, _London Match_, 1985)