Except for the plain "to offer a view", I came across other terms to express the same meaning, but I'd like to know if there is any difference between them.

For example, I found the verbs to overlook, to give onto and to look onto. I know these words have other meanings, but I'm not interested in them, I only want to know if I can use them interchangeably or not in this context.

My house has a window that overlooks/gives onto/looks onto a lake.

I wonder if one of the terms might be more appropriate in some contexts rather then others, such as the distance or the height of the view, or even the viewing point, like a balcony, a window, or the spur of a mountain. From the definitions I looked up I learned that "overlook" seems to denote a higher altitude of the viewing point, but what about the others?

Also, is one term more common than the other? Are there other ones that can be used likewise?

  • Are you specifically asking about window?
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 11:13
  • I personally find "The window overlooks the lake" somewhat awkward as opposed to "One can overlook the lake via the window" or similar. On the other hand, the first is perfectly sensible and conveys the idea.
    – cobaltduck
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 11:17
  • The window overlooks the lake. is fine IMO, and looks (out) onto is also fine. But windows don't typically "give onto" a lake. Rooms give onto other rooms, or paths give onto clearings or vistas: there's an underlying notion of forward progress.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 11:30

2 Answers 2


'Overlooks' is almost always appropriate, but I can't think of any occasion when 'give onto' is appropriate. Nor does 'looks onto' work, though it's on the right track. 'Looks out on' or even 'looks down on' could work, though the latter might have problems due to it having a second (negative) meaning as an idiom. 'Vistas' as a noun could work if the view was far away.

  • Give onto is for French windows opening onto a terrace. I agree it does not work here at all.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 13:01
  • I found examples with "give onto" here collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/give-onto and here thefreedictionary.com/give+onto, it doesn't say anything about French windows. As for "look (out) onto" you can find the example here idioms.thefreedictionary.com/look+out+onto.
    – Fra
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 13:16
  • @FrancescoDiGiuseppe A window (on the second floor of a house) is not generally said to give onto something. French "windows" can, because they can be doors and open onto terraces, and therefore can be said to give onto a terrace. But not a lake. And fyi, give into is a phrasal verb that means concede.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 13:22

Views would be the most common: lake views, sea views, water views, mountain views

You can also say "a lake view", but this would be less common in a general description, but would be appropriate if only one room has the view.

My house has lake views.

My bedroom has a lake view.

My bedroom overlooks a lake.

My bedroom window looks onto a lake.

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