Definition of grotto in US English:



  • 1A small picturesque cave, especially an artificial one in a park or garden.

    • ‘Residents in the area have been pushing for the building of a grotto in the green area of the park and the building of a wall around the park over the last 12 months.’
    • ‘A gazebo, garden seats, the grottoes and the waterside plantings and eventually the bedding schemes will convey the exuberance of the Victorian garden - to be again enjoyed in Tramore.’
    • ‘If scuba diving appeals, you'll find the Adriatic sea floor is littered with wrecks where exotic fish swim in coral reefs and colourful underwater gardens and grottoes.’
    • ‘In the Renaissance garden, elemental forces of nature were represented by fountains, statuary, and artificial grottoes.’
    • ‘A grandad from Trowbridge has transformed his garden into a magical grotto for children to enjoy.’
    • ‘Here are about 1200 caves, some of them with lakes and rivers; subterranean grottos are suitable for diving.’
    • ‘The railings around the grotto were erected at a later date.’
    • ‘Such garden grottos first became popular in Italy before spreading to England in the Tudor period.’
    • ‘Towards the end of the eighteenth century a picturesque rock landscape with a cascade, grottoes and a hermit's cave was constructed.’
    • ‘There Wright filled the grounds with follies, grottoes, and garden buildings in the rustic, Gothic, and Palladian styles.’
    • ‘The present grotto commemorating Our Lady's apparitions at Lourdes will be moved to another location in the garden.’
    • ‘In addition to the gardens, there were two grottos with hidden, artificial lighting, that sheltered the new friendship, if not love, flourishing between David and Carrie.’
    • ‘Usually a little grotto is prepared for the Pope's tomb.’
    • ‘In underwater grottoes, hollowed out of the island's jagged rock-face, we discover swarms of good-sized lobster and shrimp.’
    • ‘At 11 am there will be a May procession to bless the new grotto to Our Lady in the garden in Spring Gardens.’
    • ‘Where they did survive, many great eighteenth-century grottoes gradually slid into ruin, like the parks in which they stood or the houses they once served.’
    • ‘The garden also features a gazebo, garden seats and grottoes.’
    • ‘You can believe it if you want as you wander through gilt throne rooms and baroque bedrooms, romantic grottoes and misty gardens.’
    • ‘In gardening, designers turned their backs on Italianate fountains and grottoes and on the stiff French parterres, long vistas and avenues beloved of Stuart kings.’
    • ‘And why should we live in boring, utilitarian spaces when we could live in grottoes and crooked caverns?’
    cave, cavern, cavity, hollow, recess, alcove
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An indoor structure resembling a cave.
      ‘visits to Father Christmas's grotto’
      • ‘More than 30,000 children and adults had visited his grotto the year before.’
      • ‘During the week, youngsters tried their hand at pumpkin carving and visited a haunted house grotto.’
      • ‘Rolling over to find sweet relief from his side, he stared blankly at the ceiling, a grubby grotto of sepia walls.’
      • ‘"Children look forward to visiting a Grotto for a little present and to meet Father Christmas.’
      • ‘This palace had underground rooms or grottoes with wall paintings depicting elaborately swirled and bizarre floral and figural motifs.’


Early 17th century: from Italian grotta, via Latin from Greek kruptē (see crypt).