Noun > Bezel

Noun – Bezel

Although we know that the word “bezel” came into English through French around the year 1611, we’re not sure where it ultimately came from. It first meant “a sloping edge, especially one on a blade.”

Today, a bezel is a rim, edge, or frame around something, usually one that’s sloping or angled, and especially one that’s on a blade, a gem, a screen, or a watch face.

Part of speech:
It’s a noun, the countable kind: “Her phone has a very thin bezel.”

Other forms:
bezels, bezel-free, bezel-less

It’s got to be closely related to “bevel,” right?:
Probably not. Even though both terms involve sloping sides, their similarity appears to be a coincidence.

How to use it:
When you’re being literal, you talk about the bezel of your watch, your rings, your phone, your tablet, your laptop, your television, etc. For devices with bezels so small that they’re practically nonexistent, call them “bezel-free” or “bezel-less.”

And like I mentioned above, because we’re getting more particular about the designs we prefer for these devices, we’re talking about literal bezels more often, making the word “bezel” ripe for figurative use.

So, to get figurative, use “bezel” as a techy substitute for “edge,” “frame,” “border,” or “boundary.” You might talk about the bezel around a memory or an experience, or about the bezel separating your skewed worldview from those of other people, or about the bezel-free view of the mountains that you’re savoring–because you’re actually there.

Even the most objective news writers, the ones who report the bare facts, are framing those facts in their own way, coloring a border around them with context, word choice, and syntax. There is no such thing as a bezel-free viewing of the news.

“All of our media has margins. Even as computer and phone companies have made bezels ever smaller, we still want there to be a margin, a space between the thing we’re engaging with and the rest of the world.”
— Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog, 6 November 2019

“We ask Alexa to dim the lights, Siri to tell us the weather, or Google Home to play the new Lizzo album. In order for these devices to do this, they have to be able to hear us. And in order for them to hear us, they have to always be listening. But we weren’t always so welcoming of such auditory invasions. Indeed, these devices—disguised by shiny bezels and colorful lights—are a far cry from the sorts of covert listening technologies we’re used to seeing in spy films or television thrillers.”
— Gabrielle Cornish, Slate, 21 August 2019