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[inside a fast food restaurant, people eating at tables adjacent to very tall, wide, framed glass panels that appear to wrap around the building1

What are they called? Wall windows?

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  • Something like a window frame. Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 8:08
  • If you're refering to the size, they are: "full-length windows", "full-height windows" and "full-wall windows"
    – smatterer
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 8:30

3 Answers 3

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These large glass panels that act like a big screen to the outside and are generally stationary (cannot be opened or moved) are collectively called stationary windows.

They are also called picture windows or fixed windows. The sole purpose of these glass panels are to provide people with a full view of the outside, originally installed to face picturesque views of mountains or valleys or bodies of water. In addition to all that, I also think they are used to prevent people from feeling trapped or even claustrophobic.

From Jeld-Wen (updated 2024)

How is a picture window different from a fixed window?
Neither picture windows nor fixed windows open or close. The difference is the frame size. Picture windows have a low-profile frame, so the window has more visible glass. This allows for a broader, unobstructed view. A fixed window has a larger frame that matches the sight lines of standard windows. Another difference is overall shape and size. Picture windows are typically large rectangles.
The original link (2014) appears to no longer exist

Here are some useful links that might come in handy for your research on the correct word.

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  • I have never heard the term "stationary windows".
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 9:11
  • @ColinFine, you learn new things everyday. This is one of those things. Stationary Windows
    – Varun Nair
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 9:19
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    Evidently, Varun KN. I wondered if this might be a UK/US thing so I looked on a couple of corpora. Among the ten different English Corpora on the BYU site (between 50 million and 1.9 billion words) there is precisely one instance of "stationary window" (and none of "stationary windows") - and that is talking about a computer window. I can't account for why they don't appear in any of the corpora, since you have given me an example, and a search shows more. But it looks to me that nobody besides the window trade uses the phrase.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 15:19
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    I think usage notes like the ones @Colin mentions are indispensable. It’s one thing to say, “This is called a stationary window,” but I wouldn’t want our site to send learners out there with a new phrase that’s only going to get them puzzled looks. Whether a phrase is little-known parlance or common in the vernacular makes a difference, and a good answer will say which is the case.
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 8:39
  • picture windows is fine.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 8 at 13:53
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In Britain these are called Plate Glass Windows.

This is because they are made of plate glass - which is a technique for manufacturing large sheets of glass.

Any large glass frontage of a shop or restaurant like this is referred to as Plate Glass.

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  • Don't believe that is not used in AmE. It is.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 8 at 13:54
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Most people don't have special words for particular architectural features. So these would be called "windows". No special term is needed in most situations.

For example I would not say "I want to see near the plate glass window" or I want to sit next to the full-length window" or "next to the picture windows". I'd say "I want to sit next to the window."

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  • Are they still windows if they cannot be opened? Yes, in everyday conversation people would simply say "window(s)" and be immediately understood but if I described a building that had solid glass walls, wouldn't that description be more accurate?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 8 at 20:45
  • Yep, windows. This isn't about architectural accuracy, but just about what words people would actually use. The distinction between "things that you can wind down" and "things with frames" is below the level of most people.
    – James K
    Commented Jun 8 at 21:26

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