What's the word to describe the act of darkening windows to disallow visibility from outside yet visibility from inside to outside is possible?

I was thinking of tinting, to tint a window, but visibility is still possible from a tinted window. In this case, the windows are darkened and visibility is completely impossible; all that you see from outside is a reflection of yourself, like in a mirror. You see these kinds of windows in places like hotels and offices. What's the word to describe the making of these windows and what are these windows called?


2 Answers 2


The Wikipedia article on "Window film" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Window_film) suggests that the term "tinting" may apply to window darkeners that possess various degrees of translucence:

Privacy films reduce visibility through the glass. Privacy film for flat-glass commercial and residential applications may be silvered, offering an unimpeded view from the low-light side but virtually no view from the high-light side. It may also be frosted, rendering the window translucent but not transparent. Privacy films for automobiles are available in gradients of darkness, with the darker tints commonly known as "limo tint."


"A one-way mirror, also known as a two-way mirror, one-way glass, or two-way glass is a mirror that is partially reflective and partially transparent. When one side of the mirror is brightly lit and the other is dark, it allows viewing from the darkened side but not vice versa" Wikipedia. (Personally, I would have thought two-way glass was just called glass, but as long as your audience understands you...)

There is, however, no single word, nor do I see any reason for one. Why do so many people think every concept can or should be expressed in just one word?

  • Supposing your terms are right, how do you call the act of darkening ... blah, blah, blah, which is the word the OP are looking for. Don't you know that the act is named polarizing?
    – user19148
    Mar 3, 2013 at 20:45
  • 2
    @Carlo_R.- Polarizing does not disallow visibility, it simply filters out light waves who's plane of oscillation is not aligned with the polarizing filter. Stray reflections off objects lit by sunlight often have their plane of oscillation rotated like this and so many sunglasses manufacturers add polarization to their lenses. This, they claim, sharpens the image rather than dimming, darkening, or obscuring.
    – Jim
    Mar 3, 2013 at 22:49
  • See polarization.com/water/water.html for an explanation of polarization and why it blocks reflections. Note that the polarized glass in the picture is almost perfectly clear and blocks very little of the randomly-polarized light in the picture on the left. Mar 4, 2013 at 2:06
  • What's wrong with trying to express every concept with a single word? Who are you to say how things "should" be?
    – Josh
    Jan 28, 2014 at 18:15

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