[fem fuh-tal, -tahl, fey-; French fam fa-tal] /ˌfɛm fəˈtæl, -ˈtɑl, feɪ-; French fam faˈtal/

noun, plural femmes fatales
[fem fuh-talz, -tahlz, fey-; French fam fa-tal] /ˌfɛm fəˈtælz, -ˈtɑlz, feɪ-; French fam faˈtal/ (Show IPA)
an irresistibly attractive woman, especially one who leads men into difficult, dangerous, or disastrous situations; siren.
/fam fatal; English ˈfɛm fəˈtæl; -ˈtɑːl/
noun (pl) femmes fatales (fam fatal; English) (ˈfɛm fəˈtælz; -ˈtɑːlz)
an alluring or seductive woman, esp one who causes men to love her to their own distress

“attractive and dangerous woman,” 1895, from French femme fatale, attested by 1844, from French femme “woman,” from Latin femina (see feminine) + fatale (see fatal).

Une femme fatale est une femme qui porte malheur. [Jules Claretie, “La Vie a Paris,” 1896]

Earlier, such a woman might be called a Circe.


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