Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • Dutch spy. A professional dancer in Paris after 1905, she apparently spied for Germany during World War I and was arrested and executed by the French.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • proper noun Any exotic, female spy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun Dutch dancer who was executed by the French as a German spy in World War I (1876-1917)

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Dutch (stage name of Margaretha Geertruida (Grietje) Zelle, a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was executed by firing squad for alleged espionage during World War I), from Indonesian matahari ("sun"), from Malay matahari ("sun").

Examples

  • “He told me that the dancer they call Mata Hari is a German spy,” she said as his eyes began to close again.

    Water Song

  • “He told me that the dancer they call Mata Hari is a German spy,” she said as his eyes began to close again.

    Water Song

  • I’d once heard her described as the Mata Hari of Atoka, with her va-va-voom style of dressing and her success at weaseling information out of her neighbors—but with the eyebrows she looked more like Spock from Star Trek.

    The Merlot Murders

  • True, I did have to live for the next week with the nickname Mata Hari, but compared to being known as the writer whose act of fictional revenge had so badly failed, I wouldn’t have cared if everyone had called me Lizzie Borden.

    Author! Author! » 2006 » January

  • True, I did have to live for the next week with the nickname Mata Hari, but compared to being known as the writer whose act of fictional revenge had so badly failed, I wouldn’t have cared if everyone had called me Lizzie Borden.

    Author! Author! » Blog Archive » When good perspectives go bad

  • I’d once heard her described as the Mata Hari of Atoka, with her va-va-voom style of dressing and her success at weaseling information out of her neighbors—but with the eyebrows she looked more like Spock from Star Trek.

    The Merlot Murders

  • In 1917, Margaretha Zelle, the spy better known as Mata Hari, was executed by firing squad.

    Keith Thomson: For Sale: Beethoven's Skull

  • In 1917, Margaretha Zelle, the spy better known as Mata Hari, was executed by firing squad.

    Keith Thomson: For Sale: Beethoven's Skull

  • In 1917, Margaretha Zelle, the spy better known as Mata Hari, was executed by firing squad.

    Keith Thomson: For Sale: Beethoven's Skull

  • She could reveal to them that there was a spy school in Antwerp and that the dancer known as Mata Hari was spying for the Germans.

    Water Song

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