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Lorelei(lôr`əlī, Ger. lō`rəlī), cliff, 433 ft (132 m) high, on the right bank of the Rhine River, near St. Goarshausen, W Germany, about midway between Koblenz and Bingen. There the Rhine forms a dangerous narrows, and in German legend a fairy similar to the Greek Sirens lived on the rock and by her singing lured the sailors to their death. Heinrich Heine's poem, Die Lorelei, is world famous. The rock has sometimes been identified as the place where the hoard of the Nibelungs is hidden under the Rhine.
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water nymph of the Rhine; lured sailors to their doom with her singing. [Ger. Folklore: Leach, 645]
siren; lured ships to destruction with singing. [Ger. Folklore: Benét, 599]
siren whose singing lured ships to their destruction. [Ger. Lit.: Benét, 599]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.