This is article very interesting especially as we rarely learn much now about the connection of English with Old Norse.No doubt the Government don’t believe it will add to our ability to gain employment stacking the freezers in supermarkets with horsemeat burgers or similar activities.
Etymology of the word
The word window originates from the Old Norse ‘vindauga’, from ‘vindr – wind’ and ‘auga – eye’, i.e. “wind eye“. In Norwegian Nynorsk and Icelandic the Old Norse form has survived to this day (in Icelandic only as a less used synonym to gluggi), in Swedish the word vindöga remains as a term for a hole through the roof of a hut, and in the Danish language ‘vindue’ and Norwegian Bokmål ‘vindu’, the direct link to ‘eye’ is lost, just like for ‘window’. The Danish (but not the Bokmål) word is pronounced fairly similarly to window.
Window is first recorded in the early 13th century, and originally referred to an unglazed hole in a roof. Window replaced the Old English ‘eagþyrl’, which literally means ‘eye-hole,’ and ‘eagduru’ ‘eye-door’. Many Germanic languages however adopted the Latin word ‘fenestra’ to describe a window with glass, such as standard Swedish ‘fönster’, or German ‘Fenster’. The use of window in English is probably due to the Scandinavian influence on the English language by means of loanwords during the Viking Age. In English the word fenester was used as a parallel until the mid-18th century and fenestration is still used to describe the arrangement of windows within a façade. Also, words such as “defenestration” are in use, meaning to throw something out of a window.
From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary: Window, n. [G. The vulgar pronunciation is windor, as if from the Welsh gwyntdor, wind-door.]