A doorway? passageway? archway? lintel? soffit?

I have to label one on an architectural drawing, and it occurred to me that there may be a more technically accurate term for it than "passageway" or "archway."

Don't know if this question is more appropriate for Home Improvement or the English Language and Usage site. /shrug

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    How about "opening"? – Niall C. Aug 14 '12 at 19:49

If you were just using the dictionary definitions, it would be called a "doorway".

1. the passage or opening into a building, room, etc., commonly closed and opened by a door; portal.
2. a means of access: a doorway to success.

1. a movable, usually solid, barrier for opening and closing an entranceway, cupboard, cabinet, or the like, commonly turning on hinges or sliding in grooves.
2. a doorway: to go through the door.
3. the building, house, etc., to which a door belongs: My friend lives two doors down the street.
4. any means of approach, admittance, or access: the doors to learning.
5. any gateway marking an entrance or exit from one place or state to another: at heaven's door.

1. a way for passing into, through, or out of something, as within a building or between buildings; a corridor, hall, alley, catwalk, or the like.
2. a corridor on a ship.

1. an entrance or passage under an arch.
2. a covering or enclosing arch.

1. a horizontal architectural member supporting the weight above an opening, as a window or a door.

1. the underside of an architectural feature, as a beam, arch, ceiling, vault, or cornice.


Since you're dealing with architectural drawings, you'll probably want to use "Cased Opening" (or "Arched Opening" if the top of the opening should have an arch). Which would be drawn on a blueprint using this symbol.

Cased opening symbol

A cased opening is a doorway that is trimmed out, but does not contain a door. If you just want an opening in the wall without trim, you could just call it an "Opening", or "archway". It would look like this on a blueprint.

enter image description here

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    The phrase cased opening is based on the term casing that refers to the vertical and horizontal molding facing each of the rooms the opening joins. (for Bonus Points: the three broad molding pieces that face into the opening itself are called jambs.) – bib Aug 14 '12 at 20:29
  • Yeah, cased opening. But what's it called if it's not cased? Like it just has finished drywall wrapping around the framing, with no finish carpentry? I'm inclined to call it a framed opening, but that seems confusing. – bcworkz Aug 14 '12 at 21:23
  • I think doorway is often used even when there is no door. An alternative might be entryway or even portal but that is usually used for grand entrances. – bib Aug 15 '12 at 1:58

Chief Architect software calls door-sized openings without casings "archways" regardless of the shape of the top of the opening.

I had an archway that was a plain old rectangle in my last renovation and all the trades knew exactly what I meant when I called it that.

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    Frequent misuse does not equal proper use. By definition, in archway requires an arch. – b1nary.atr0phy Dec 29 '15 at 14:15
  • When miscommunication can lead to costly mistakes as it so often does in construction, I favor language that is likely to be correctly understood to that which is "proper." – alx9r Dec 29 '15 at 14:36

It's a cased opening if it's finished, otherwise we call it a drywall opening.

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My choice would be portal. It signifies you can get from one room to the other.

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    The term portal is reserved for 'extravagant' openings. – b1nary.atr0phy Dec 29 '15 at 14:14
  • I stepped through a temporary portal in the space/time continuum and found myself on this DIY space, how do i find that portal again? – Alaska Man Aug 7 at 18:20

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