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help with a technical term

I’m writing a story set in a tower (actually an aviary) where instead of windows they have openings in the wall. It’s kind of a window only instead of glass you just have an opening where fresh air comes through.

The problem is, I can’t remember for the life of me what this kind of thing is called. It’s not a balcony because you can’t actually walk out onto it, nor is it a window, because there’s not glass you can close. There’s just an opening in the wall where light and breeze can come in. Unless I’m mistaken Can you call this a window? Or what’s appropriate?

Because, this is driving me absolutely batty. Not that I ever had far to go on that count, but does anyone want to help a girl out? Pretty please?


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 9th, 2013 11:21 pm (UTC)
I think it would still be a window. Glass would have been rare and expensive in some time periods. Open windows could be closed off by shutters, and I believe sometimes they might be covered with fabric of some kind that would let in the light.

I know that openings that were made for defenders to shoot arrows through were called crenellations, though.
Mar. 10th, 2013 04:39 am (UTC)
Crenellations are the 'teeth' on top of a wall - arrow slits are the narrow openings to shoot through.

And yes, they'd still be windows, with or without glass.
Mar. 10th, 2013 12:23 am (UTC)
It is still a window. The term window was originally Norse and used to refer to just a hole in a wall, without any coverings. Now if you want a fancier term, you can refer to the shape of the window, because they all have different names by their shapes. Some common ones in towers are:

cinquefoil, which is a round window with a five petaled flower shape inside it (made either of stone or wood)

lancet arch, which is a tall, narrow, pointed on the top arch

oculus, which is a plain, round window OR rose, which is a really fancy round window, usually with stain glass and lots of panes, so that probably won't do for you since yours has no glass

oriel, which is like a bay window, but normally with arched window openings

I used to teach medieval stuff, and architecture was one of our visual arts units. :-)
Mar. 10th, 2013 04:41 am (UTC)
Thanks, everyone! I really learned a lot today, espcially from Elliska. I am happy to use window if that's the appropriate term, and it seems like it is best. But even aside from that, I'm really glad to have asked the question because it taught me a lot of interesting distinctions I didn't know before.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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