Frosted glass

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Frosted wine glass
MFA 1993.629
Frosted tumbler
MFA 36.15


An opaque to semitransparent glass grinding, etching, or sand blasting the surface on one side. The etching, sometimes done in intricate patterns, is used to provide privacy and decoration. The roughened surface of ground glass is used for windows, glassware, glass mullers, stoppers in glass bottles and for diffusely reflective optical surfaces that evenly scatter light.

Synonyms and Related Terms

etched glass; ground glass; frosted glas (Ned.); vidro despolido (Port.)


  • To achieve visual privacy while still allowing light to pass through.
  • To produce decorative patterns on plain glass
  • In lightbulbs, the matte surface evenly distributes the light
  • To create an airtight seal of glass stoppers in glass tubes

Resources and Citations

  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971

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