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In color theory, tinting means to add white while toning adds grey and shading adds black. What is the origin of the use of tinting then in terms of windows? Are they unrelated?

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Lemme just say that the color theory use of tinting (if correct) is, uh, screwy. In the real world, tinting means adding a touch of color. –  Marthaª May 3 '12 at 14:14
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Color theory does not dictate usage to most English speakers, who are oblivious to the details of its existence. This question appears to be argumentation in disguise. –  Kaz May 3 '12 at 20:30

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Tint comes from Latin tinctus "a dyeing," from tingere "to dye". Actually you are not colouring, toning or shading your windows you put some sort of UV films so the verb refers to action of putting something that reduce the amount or the type of visible sun light or so called visible light transmission (VLT) .We see the light as white hence we use tint here.

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The words as used in colour theory are jargon with much more precise meanings than when used colloquially. I think the colour theory meaning for tinting came somewhat after the process of tinting glass was arrived at.

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I guess that's what happens when there are no color theorists hanging around the glazier's shop. Too late now, I think; the phrase has probably stuck. –  J.R. May 3 '12 at 8:58

In my experience, many people (including many writers) are unaware of the "add white to tint/add black to shade" distinction; hence we get constructions such as the title of Procol Harum's song, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (1967). To the credit of popular culture, however, sunglasses are widely known as "shades," not "tints."

The first time I heard the term "tinted window" was in connection with my grandparents' new early-1960s Ford Thunderbird, whose windshield had a 4- or 5-inch band of strikingly blue "tinting" along its upper edge to protect the driver's and front-seat passenger's eyes from the glare of the late-afternoon sun.

I suspect that "tinted window" won out over "shaded window" as a marketing term, for the practical reason that "shaded window" suggests to most people not a window whose glass is to some degree darkened by a film or a chemical treatment, but a window that is protected from admitting direct sunlight by a pull-down shade or blind attached for that purpose or that is prevented from doing so by a physical object (such as a tree or wall) that happens to be nearby and casts a shadow over the window. "Tinted window" is less susceptible to being misconstrued.

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