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The French adopted the expression (at first—in 1776—spelled wass-ist-dass) as a name for the small windows over the doors to German homes, because the inhabitants often asked the French (through the windows) was ist das? (what is that?”, i.e. “who's there?) before letting them in.



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

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