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FrenchEdit

EtymologyEdit

At first—in 1776—spelled wass-ist-dass, from German was ist das? (who's there?, literally what is that?).

The French adopted the expression as a name for the small windows over the doors to German homes, because the inhabitants often asked the French was ist das? through the windows before letting them in.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

vasistas m (plural vasistas)

  1. transom
    • 1938, Francis Carco, L’Homme de Minuit:
      Jim manœuvra le cordon d’un vasistas, mais l’ouverture donnait sur la loge de Gaby Million où la vedette avait laissé ses chiens. Les bêtes se mirent à aboyer.
      Jim maneuvered a rope from the transom, but the opening overlooked the lodge where the star Gaby Million had left her dogs. The creatures began to bark.
  2. fortochka

Further readingEdit