Schloss (German pronunciation: Schlösser), formerly written Schloß, is the German term for a building similar to a château, palace or manor house.
In the United Kingdom, it is known as a stately home or country house.
Similarly, in the Scandinavian languages (related Germanic languages), the cognate word slot/slott usually is used for what in English could be either a palace or a castle (instead of words in rarer use such as palats/palæ, kastell or borg).
In Dutch, the word slot is considered to be more archaic; nowadays, one commonly uses paleis or kasteel.
Most Schlösser were built after the Middle Ages as residences for the nobility and not as authentic fortresses, although they were often fortified initially.
The usual German term for an authentic castle is Burg, and for a fortress is Festung or — slightly more archaic — Veste.
However, many castles were called Schloss, especially those used as residences after losing their defensive significance. Many were adapted to new tastes during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
A Schloss is usually surrounded by a moat and is called a Wasserschloss (water castle).
Other types include the Stadtschloss (city palace), the Jagdschloss (hunting lodge) and the Lustschloss (pleasure palace or summer residence).