Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
A mysterious and attractive woman who puts men in dangerous or compromising situations. James Bond is always able to see through the evil plot of the femme fatale.
(be) a ˌfemme faˈtale(from French) a beautiful woman that men find sexually attractive but who brings them trouble or unhappiness: The movie follows the relationship between sexy femme fatale Suzy and young lawyer Jim, which eventually leads to a murderous crime of passion.
The meaning of the French expression is ‘disastrous woman’.
An attractive woman who is, for one reason or another, dangerous. French for “fatal woman,” the term has been used in English since about 1900, and today it is often used more ironically than seriously. Michael Arlen used it in The Green Hat (1924): “So you heard about it from that femme fatale, did you?” Much more recently Richard Dyer used it in the sense of “very glamorous” in describing the singer who played the leading role in the opera Carmen: “She’s physically and vocally limber, and revels in her femme-fatale look” (Boston Globe, March 24, 2005).