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cherchez la femme
A French phrase meaning "look for the woman," the idea being that when a man starts behaving strangely, it is often because he is attracted to or involved with a woman. The phrase is typically attributed to French author Alexandre Dumas. A: "Todd has started dressing better and acting much more mature lately." B: "Hmm, cherchez la femme, methinks."
1. noun, informal A woman, girl, or wife; a female. If the femmes in my life had their way, I wouldn't have this mustache.
2. noun, slang A person who is feminine in appearance and/or sensibility. Typically used of lesbians and gay men who exhibit such traits. Some lesbians describe themselves as butches, some describe themselves as femmes, and others eschew labels altogether. Julie always dates femmes.
3. adjective, slang Describing a person who is feminine in appearance and/or sensibility. Typically used of lesbians and gay men who exhibit such traits. Everyone Julie dates is femme. Some lesbians describe themselves as butch, some describe themselves as femme, and others eschew labels altogether.
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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
(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’.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
cherchez la femme
This French phrase that translates as “look for a woman,” originated with the elder Alexandre Dumas in his novel The Mohicans of Paris. Its meaning is that unusual male behavior can often be traced to involvement with a female. For example, countless generations of adolescent boys who never paid attention to their wardrobe or personal grooming suddenly became interested in clothing fashions. They washed their face and combed their hair without being told to, and spent hours chatting on the telephone (now a computer or handheld device) with the classic teenage boy's dreamy/dopey look on their face. Their parents would regard the phenomenon with a knowing and bemused expression as they told each other, “cherchez la femme.”
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price