see-through walls

Nightowll

Senior Member
Italian
Among the dictionaries, Oxford, Collins and Macmillan say the word see-through is used to describe transparent or translucent cloth or plastic. But The Cambridge English Dictionary seems to say it is fine to use see-through to describe other things such as partitions.

Context: There are several small offices on a floor of a building. The offices are divided by transparent walls so you can see other offices on the same floor.

The see-through walls dividing the offices create an open atmosphere.

Do you think you can use see-through to describe walls like this, instead of cloth or plastic?
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It's frequently, and as Lexico says "especially" used in relation to clothing, but evidently not uniquely. Anything you can see through can be described as 'see-through'.

    The fact that some dictionaries use 'see-through' clothing as an example of its usage, doesn't imply that it can only be used with clothing.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    But 'see-through walls' is still a somewhat odd thing to say. I can't think of any see-through material walls can be made of except glass, and 'glass walls' or even 'big windows' is a more natural way of saying this.
     

    Nightowll

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thank you! :)

    The see-through walls dividing the offices create an open atmosphere. (when the walls are not made of glass)

    The glass walls dividing the offices create an open atmosphere.

    The big windows dividing the offices create an open atmosphere.
     

    Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    'big windows' doesn't work because we are familiar with room dividers and we don't call them windows (unless they are literally a framed, transparent rectangle set in the wall which looks like an actual window).

    'see-through' is OK and would be easily understood, but I must say that 'transparent' sounds much better in this context – it sounds a bit childish to say 'see-through' (as if you don't know the word 'transparent').
     

    Nightowll

    Senior Member
    Italian
    OK, so the sentence would sound normal or more sophisticated if I use transparent or glass.

    The transparent walls dividing the offices create an open atmosphere.

    The glass walls dividing the offices create an open atmosphere.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I can't think of any see-through material walls can be made of except glass, and 'glass walls' or even 'big windows' is a more natural way of saying this.
    There's plexiglas/perspex and lexan, and there are things that are effectively transparent like mesh or slats. Remember these are interior office dividers not load bearing walls. They might not even be floor to ceiling and the transparent part might only start above desk height.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top