Femme fatale, meaning "an attractive and dangerous woman", is a French expression which has become part of the English language roughly since the beginning of the 20th century. Is there another English word or idiomatic expression which conveys the same meaning?
The English expression for femme fatale is femme fatale. No joke.
Consider vamp and maneater.
vamp: a seductive woman who uses her sensuality to exploit men; femme fatale
A maneater is the female equivalent of a player. An irresistible woman who chews and spits out men after using them for some sort of gain -- be it sexual, financial, or psychological.
maneater: Slang. femme fatale
Alternately, mantrap might also fit for what you're looking for.
mantrap: Slang. a woman considered dangerously seductive and scheming; femme fatale
You could use the word siren, based on Greek mythology. The Sirens were beautiful women who lured sailors into danger.
Try Delilah, enchantress or temptress. If she is a spymaster's decoy, she could also be a honey pot. The less flattering term bunny-boiler also exists, after actress Glenn Close's character in the 1987 movie Fatal Attraction.
Lots of words and expressions in foreign languages have no direct equivalent in English, and none have been devised, simply because it is easier to use the non-English. The foreign phrase conveys an established meaning, which an attempt at translation might lose.
See Oxford Dictionary of foreign phrases http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/foreign-words-and-phrases.
It translates femme fatale roughly as 'seductive woman', or 'disastrous woman'.
It is usual when using such expressions to put them in italics.
a woman who seduces, esp. one who seduces a man sexually
Succubus and black widow comes to mind.
The first word that comes to my mind is "vixen", which seems to capture both the danger and seduction of femme fatale.
The term I would use is black widow. The original, a spider, eats her mate after copulation.
I am surprised nobody has suggested cougar, although that has more of a "dirty old man" connotation. Perhaps barracuda, which I have always interpreted to mean a cougar who is looking for someone her own age.
You could also use Honeypot or Honeytrap.
This is a fascinating question. I note that nobody has referred to the phrase as clearly having TWO words Following this format, a translation would be "dangerous woman". Femme = woman Fatale = fatal, but is not meant to be so drastic, so dangerous is closer to what is implied.
I believe vamp, a shorten form of vampire used exclusively to describe females is perhaps the closest word that is I believe considered anglicized. Though its usage is fairly rare outside novels and movies, so I don't know how the general populace would recognize it.
Sharon Stone - might be a better choice, but not quite idiomatic, for a younger pop-culture obsessed audience.
Explanation: The movie Basic Instinct.
Or perhaps Nikita.
protected by RegDwigнt♦ May 23 '14 at 20:01
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