American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A small cave or cavern.
- n. An artificial structure or excavation made to resemble a cave or cavern.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A subterranean cavity; a natural cavern, or an ornamented excavation or construction more or less remotely resembling a natural cave, made for shade or recreation. In the former case, the name is most commonly used for a cavern of limited size remarkable in some respect, as the Grotto del Cane near Naples for its mephitic vapors, the grotto of Antiparos for its beautiful stalactitic and stalagmitic formations, or the grottoes of Capri for their picturesqueness. Poetically the name is often applied to any deeply shaded inclosed space, as an umbrageous opening in a dense wood, an overarched depression in the ground, etc.
- n. A small cave.
- n. An artificial cavern-like retreat.
- n. A Marian shrine, usually built in a cavern-like structure.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A natural covered opening in the earth; a cave; also, an artificial recess, cave, or cavernlike apartment.
- n. a small cave (usually with attractive features)
- From Italian grotta, from Vulgar Latin grupta, from Classical Latin crypta; see crypt. (Wiktionary)
- Alteration of Italian grotta, from Vulgar Latin *grupta, from Latin crypta, vault; see crypt. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“In one marvellous passage he defines the word "grotesque" from the word grotto, a small cave and goes on to sing the praises of the "modern master printers who think like the scribes of our old Icelandic languages" and decorate their texts with impossible creatures –"a centaur here, an old woman with birds' feet there, a three-headed dog".”
“They had what they called a grotto — a show you'd go to.”
“A little past the grotto is another small piece of water, springing from the centre of which is a rockery tastefully covered with ferns, and forming the pedestal to two statues of children, a boy and girl, the boy holding an umbrella over the girl's head; the trees around cover them with a deep shadow, and the tout ensemble is very pretty and shows great taste.”
“In a little water in front of the grotto is the lotus-flower, a regular Indian plant; while in the shade of some of the petrified wood are several beautiful English ferns.”
“The child opened the heavy door for him, and he looked into a poor mountain grotto, with bare stone walls.”
“The word grotto now wants exploring so, as your etymological spelunker I'll tell you that English got grotto from Italian.”
“There was a kind of grotto in the church, under the high altar; and in the grotto was a full-sized figure of a dead man, carved and painted -- and covered with wounds; and round that figure half the women and girls of the town were collected, stroking, kissing ...”
“The grotto is the essence of the resort, which emphasizes healing, relaxing and rejuvenation; "out of the silence emerges the sound of your life," is one of the resort taglines.”
“Intended as a site for diversions, a refuge from the rigid protocols of the royal court, the grotto was also one of the stops on her way to the guillotine.”
“They only referred to a grotto, but I did some research on the Internet.”
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