When asked about my superpower I wish I had, I answer, with a little perversion, the power to see through clothes.

Now, I'm looking for a word that describes "see-through clothes" in one word, coupled with vision. X-Ray vision isn't exactly the same thing; to me it implies seeing through to the bone (hence X-Ray).

Is there a word that can aptly describe this superpower? I looked for word synonyms of see-through, like transparent, or crystalline, but "transparent vision" or "crystalline vision" doesn't really sound close to what I'm trying to say.

  • 3
    Whatever the right word for it is, it really ought to be prefixed with 'selectable'. It's not only good looking people that are naked under their clothes. Take a trip to a nudist colony/beach before committing yourself to this as your only superpower. ;)
    – Frank
    Jun 30 '14 at 7:14

Penetrative vision, from penetrate: to see through

keen eyes that penetrate the darkness/mist. etc.

It is not substantially different than X-ray vision, which is also penetrative. The idea of selective penetrability has always existed in "Xray vision": to see a gun under a coat, or a room behind a wall; one can see what one desires to see.

  • 5
    Adding "penetration" to a discussion about seeing thruogh people's clothes seems... something. Jun 30 '14 at 10:55
  • 2
    @DavidRicherby - X rays penetrate. Get your mind up out of there. Jun 30 '14 at 11:30
  • 1
    Or clothing-penetrating vision, parallel to ground-penetrating radar.
    – Scott
    Jun 30 '14 at 22:10

I would refer to it as "X-Ray Specs vision," after the novelty item that used to be promoted (along with Sea Monkeys and the opportunity to sell subscriptions to Grit magazine) in the back section of old comic books. The slogan for X-Ray Specs was "See the bones in your hand, see through clothes!"

As Wikipedia's X-Ray Specs article points out, a number of modern technologies permit actual (instead of illusory) viewing of bodies under clothes, including (most controversially, because it's used in airports) backscatter X-ray technology. So if you wanted to up the creepiness quotient of your desired super power, you could forgo the cutely retro name "X-Ray Specs vision" in favor of the disturbingly current "Backscatter X-ray vision."

  • if you wanted to up the creepiness quotient I'm not sure that's possible.
    – Frank
    Jun 30 '14 at 15:55
  • @Frank: Well, you could combine it with a smartphone app that lets you learn personal details about nearby people whom you don't know.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jun 30 '14 at 15:59

It may be a bit obscure, but "terahertz vision" might work.

Terahertz radiation readily penetrates fabric and plastic, but depending on the frequency, can be tuned to reflect off water-dense tissue, like skin.

In fact, terahertz scanners are already in use in some places in the world for security scanning.

  • 4
    Oh dear. I made a tera-ble mistake. Jun 30 '14 at 8:48
  • 3
    *adds "Terahertz Vision" to the list of rock bands that ought to exist but don't* Jun 30 '14 at 12:13

"See-through" or "transparent" or "pellucid" or whatever would describe the thing being seen through, not the vision seeing through it.

I'm pretty sure there isn't a word that fits the bill and which most people would understand. If I were to coin a word, I suppose I would come up with "transvestial vision", meaning "through clothes" (and with Latin roots to match "vision"). Obviously that might create confusion.

  • Excellent point but there is an exception tied to vision because some materials become transparent through heat or water
    – Third News
    Jun 29 '14 at 23:00
  • 1
    I like transvestial excepting that the combinations of trans and vesti in English tend to focus on the across definition of trans rather than the through definition.
    – KRyan
    Jun 30 '14 at 15:06

The word you're looking for is TSA-vision. The answer you're looking for is, "I wish I had the ability to time travel so I could go back and warn my younger, more innocent self to keep my mind out of the gutter and to invest in Google."

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