From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- An opening, usually covered by one or more panes of clear glass, to allow light and air from outside to enter a building or vehicle.
- 1952: A window is an opening in a wall to admit light and air. — L.F. Salzman, Building in England, p. 173.
- An opening, usually covered by glass, in a shop which allows people to view the shop and its products from outside.
- A period of time when something is available.
- launch window
- window of opportunity
Primitive windows were just holes in a wall. Later, windows were covered with animal hide, cloth, or wood. Shutters that could be opened and closed came next. Over time, windows were built that both protected the inhabitants from the elements and transmitted light: mullioned glass windows, which joined multiple small pieces of glass with leading, paper windows, flattened pieces of translucent animal horn, and plates of thinly sliced marble. The Romans were the first to use glass for windows. In Alexandria ca. 100 AD, cast glass windows, albeit with poor optical properties, began to appear. Mullioned glass windows were the windows of choice among European well-to-do, whereas paper windows were economical and widely used in ancient China, Korea and Japan. In England, glass became common in the windows of ordinary homes only in the early 17th century whereas windows made up of panes of flattened animal horn were used as early as the 14th century in Northern Britain. Modern-style floor-to-ceiling windows became possible only after the industrial glass making process was perfected.
In the Sanghabhedavastu legend of the Buddhists, it is said that the Buddha Siddartha Gautama, who dates to 500 B.C., was viewed by his father through a grand window because he was unable to enter the synagoge (Sanskrit samsthagare).