In spanish there is ventanear and its derived terms, meaning to look out the window, in a busybody/nosey way. (It could also mean to peep into windows, in some places, but that's not important). It is literally derived from ventana (window).

Is there an English equivalent word or phrase? It brings to mind Gladys Kravitz from the show Bewitched. I know busybody is partly close, but it doesn't require peeking or watching from afar.

  • Idiomatically, perhaps nosey parker might do you (but it is primarily BrE). Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 17:50
  • Perhaps a stealth ogler.
    – Graffito
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 21:12
  • Another word for nosey parker is busybody, a "meddling or prying person" (google). But it doesn't specify the curtains or the window. By the way, nosy (adj.) is also possible. Commented Sep 6, 2015 at 15:41

3 Answers 3


The Spanish word draws on a part of a house and listening in by association. The eaves are a part of the house in English and an eavesdropper listens in conversations because they are nosey.

Associating the nosey neighbor with an external part of the house is universal. Consider the Chinese word for eavesdropping and a native speaker would see an ear next to a gate.

  • 1
    english.stackexchange.com/a/165405/48273 hmm how easily you forget the root of common words :D Thank you.
    – cde
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 15:46
  • I don’t understand your point about Chinese 偷听 tōutīng, which literally means ‘steal-hear’ or more accurately ‘hear surreptitiously’. There is nothing about any part of a house in that expression, and neither ears nor gates figure in either of the characters in the word. How is the Chinese word relevant here? Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 10:23

My mother used to say that nosy neighbors who peeked out of their windows from behind their curtains were "curtain peepers". She said the phrase in a disapproving way, implying that such people were sneaky and felt they were "too good" to be openly curious.

Mother might have coined the term or she may have heard it as a child. She was raised by Croatian and Swedish parents in a multi-language immigrant community in Michigan, U.S.A. I haven't heard anyone outside our family say curtain peeper but, then again, I grew up far from her home town.

  • A quick search shows nothing for that. Google translate doesn't show a direct croatian ir swedish translation for "peeper", so it may just be lost in translation or tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BluntMetaphorsTrauma
    – cde
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 19:16
  • I can't exactly recall the phrase I heard in my childhood (New England), but it involved curtains. Peering or peeking through curtains, or twitching the curtain aside -- something like that. A nosy neighbor who had peeked through the curtains often offers a vital clue in detective stories.
    – ab2
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 21:03

In British English, "curtain twitcher".


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.