Definition of ceiling
1a : the overhead inside lining of a room <The room has a high ceiling.>b : material used to ceil a wall or roof of a room
2 : something thought of as an overhanging shelter or a lofty canopy <a ceiling of stars>
3a : the height above the ground from which prominent objects on the ground can be seen and identifiedb : the height above the ground of the base of the lowest layer of clouds when over half of the sky is obscured
5 : an upper usually prescribed limit <a ceiling on prices, rents, and wages>
ceilingedplay \-liŋd\ adjective
Examples of ceiling in a sentence
The house has low ceilings.
The airplane has a ceiling of 32,000 feet.
Origin and Etymology of ceiling
Middle English celing, from celen
First Known Use: 1535
CEILING Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ceiling for English Language Learners
: the inside surface at the top of a room
: an upper limit
: the greatest height at which an aircraft can fly
CEILING Defined for Kids
Definition of ceiling for Students
1 : the overhead inside surface of a room
2 : the greatest height at which an airplane can fly properly
3 : the height above the ground of the bottom of the lowest layer of clouds
4 : an upper limit <a ceiling on prices>
History for ceiling
As we now line a coat with a lining, we also used to ceil a room with a ceiling. The verb ceil, however, is now very seldom used on its own. Originally to ceil was to cover the surfaces of a room—both above and on the sides—with a coating of plaster or with carved panels. Ceiling could once mean nearly the same as “paneling,” but the only sense we now use refers only to what is overhead in a room.
Learn More about ceiling
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up ceiling? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).