from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • Strait ofOtranto A passage between southeast Italy and western Albania connecting the Adriatic Sea with the Ionian Sea.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The Castle of Otranto is one I haven't yet read -- I'm saving it.

    Diane Setterfield - An interview with author

  • The aim, Walpole asserts in his second preface to Otranto, is "to make them think, speak and act, as it might be supposed mere men and women would do in extraordinary positions."

    Reading Machines

  • Anne Radcliffe -- born Ward in 1764, the year of "Otranto" -- was the wife of an editor, who was necessarily absent from home much of the time until late at night.

    A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century

  • This successive marriage is followed by a series of supernatural events that serve as warnings to Manfred's arrogation of the castle of Otranto which is supposed to be the possession of the true prince, Theodore of Falconara.

  • Osmond, a feudal tyrant of the "Otranto" type, who is planning an incestuous marriage with his own niece, concerning which he thus soliloquizes: "What though she prefer a basilisk's kiss to mine?

    A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century

  • Otranto was also the setting for an 18th Century publishing phenomenon, the first novel in the psychological horror genre we now call gothic .

    Nina Burleigh: Remembering Too Well

  • Last year, I spent some time in the Italian city of Otranto, a pretty Adriatic town and site of an infamous 15th Century beheading massacre in the long and bloody skirmish between Islam and Christianity.

    Nina Burleigh: Remembering Too Well

  • The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole, describes the supernatural punishment meted out to a usurping Italian feudal prince in a haunted castle packed with what we now consider standard fright stock -- secret doors, gloomy tunnels linking castle and monastery, haunted suits of armor, portraits of ancestors jumping out of their frames.

    Nina Burleigh: Remembering Too Well

  • Otranto's obsession with its 600-year-old victimization presents a cautionary tale about what New York might be in six centuries if tragedy - and not our glorious, universal spirit - became the city's binding legend.

    Nina Burleigh: Remembering Too Well

  • The Cathedral of Otranto reflects this multicultural past, and is a World Heritage site for its complex mosaic floor depicting scenes from every human myth and legend known to the world circa 1100 A.D.: pagan pantheon, India's Ganesh and yogi culture, Jewish Kabbalah's tree of life, Confucianism, Buddhism, Puss in Boots, the Old and New Testament prophets and King Arthur and the Grail.

    Nina Burleigh: Remembering Too Well


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