Witch Window

I learned something new at Neatoramanaut Minnesotastan's excellent but unpronounceable blog TYWKIWDBI every day, like this architectural oddity called the Witch Window.

In American vernacular architecture, a witch window (also known as a Vermont window, a coffin window, or a sideways window) is a window (usually a double-hung sash window, occasionally a single-sided casement window) placed in the gable-end wall of a house and rotated approximately 1/8 of a turn (45 degrees) from the vertical, leaving it diagonal, with its long edge parallel to the roof slope. This technique allows a builder to fit a full-sized window into the long, narrow wall space between two adjacent roof lines. These windows are found almost exclusively in or near the U.S. state of Vermont, principally in farmhouses from the 19th century...


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While the various names of this asrchtiectural oddity are given, one is left in the dark as to the origin of names: why is it called a witch window?

Here is my theory: Centuries ago when belief in witches was rampant, there were many expressions using "witch" as a meaning of contempt, or as an explanation of something that went wrong. In modern English, esp. in the US, the word "bitch" is similarly used. So, in framing a house the additional and difficult work of framing an opening for that placement of a window, could have been referred to as a witch of a job, etc.

Also, such a window might have been a good place to hang witches' balls, which were globes of colored glass thought to keep witches away.
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