Window on the world

Posted by Bob on June 13, 2005

In Reply to: Window on the world posted by Brian from Shawnee on June 13, 2005

: : : : A Chilean friend's daughter has an English exam and asked me what the phrase "window on the world" means. Any help would be appreciated.
: : : : Yours, Leslie

: : : There was a Window on the World restaurant at the World Trade Center.

: : : I'm looking for the origin or first use of the expression. No luck so far. Here's what I think: it means a panoramic or eagle's eye view of everything.

: : : Panoramic = 2 a : an unobstructed or complete view of an area in every direction b : a comprehensive presentation of a subject (Merriam-Webster online).

: : : Window is from an Old Norse word for "an eye of wind," suggesting a window's function of letting in both air and light. (Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

: : Can be used metaphorically, too. BBC News is, to many people, a window to the world.

: Technically the restaurant in the WTC was "Windows on the World".

: If I was to guess, I'd guess the phrase was first applied to a television set.

The public TV station in Chicago is WTTW, aka "Window to the World." (If true, the world is a dreary mix of earnest talking heads, travel documentaries, self-help ("newage") uplift, and Sesame Street.