Doors often have a small hole with a fish-eye lens for security purposes. They are commonly called 'peepholes' but I'm sure I have come across a formal architectural term for this type of aperture, possibly Latin or Greek. I can't find it though!

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    Apparently door viewer is the "official" term, though I'm not sure how many people would know what it means.
    – Hot Licks
    May 18, 2015 at 12:37
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    Since the ancient Romans and Greeks didn't have fish-eye lenses, it seems unlikely they'd have have a word for the modern type of door viewer that depends on them. May 18, 2015 at 12:42
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    Peephole: opening, crack, hole, aperture, knothole, crevice, eyehole, eyelet, slit, slot, spyhole.
    – user66974
    May 18, 2015 at 12:47
  • Not necessarily with a lens, just the hole itself.
    – Alan B
    May 18, 2015 at 13:03
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    I'm a technical writer in the construction industry and have seen 'peephole' used in many official/formal documents (UK).
    – Jascol
    May 18, 2015 at 13:18

2 Answers 2


We had one on the door when I was growing up in the 1960s London and we called it the Vassi. Just checked with my sister and she remembers the same word. Never knew why until I read Hans Adler comment. It was clearly a corruption of vasistas. It was my Grandmother's word as it was her house.

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    I see this answer was "accepted" but it doesn't appear to answer the question, which is asking for the formal term for these holes. Aug 19, 2017 at 13:32
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    Note for authors: destructive edits should not be accepted. An edit stating "this is wrong" should have been another answer; if you feel it's justified you can write the other answer.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 2, 2019 at 11:35

I'm fine about being wrong but will add I was referring to an opening in the door which Gran called a Vassi. It was a small window that could be opened from the inside to allow delivery of small packages. I think I may have misunderstood the original question.

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