the overhead interior surface of a room.
the top limit imposed by law on the amount of money that can be charged or spent or the quantity of goods that can be produced or sold.
the maximum altitude from which the earth can be seen on a particular day, usually equal to the distance between the earth and the base of the lowest cloud bank.
Also called absolute ceiling. the maximum altitude at which a particular aircraft can operate under specified conditions.
Meteorology. the height above ground level of the lowest layer of clouds that cover more than half of the sky.
a lining applied for structural reasons to a framework, especially in the interior surfaces of a ship or boat.
Also called ceiling piece. Theater. the ceiling or top of an interior set, made of cloth, a flat, or two or more flats hinged together.
the act or work of a person who makes or finishes a ceiling.
vaulting, as in a medieval church.
hit the ceiling, Informal. to become enraged: When he saw the amount of the bill, he hit the ceiling.

1350–1400, for def 7; Middle English; see ceil, -ing1

ceilinged, adjective
subceiling, noun
unceilinged, adjective
underceiling, noun

ceiling, sealing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged


verb (used with object)
to overlay (the ceiling of a building or room) with wood, plaster, etc.
to provide with a ceiling.

1400–50; late Middle English celen to cover, to panel < ?

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ceil (siːl)
1.  to line (a ceiling) with plaster, boarding, etc
2.  to provide with a ceiling
[C15 celen, perhaps back formation from ceiling]

ceiling (ˈsiːlɪŋ)
1.  the inner upper surface of a room
2.  a.  an upper limit, such as one set by regulation on prices or wages
 b.  (as modifier): ceiling prices
3.  service ceiling See also absolute ceiling the upper altitude to which an aircraft can climb measured under specified conditions
4.  meteorol the highest level in the atmosphere from which the earth's surface is visible at a particular time, usually the base of a cloud layer
5.  a wooden or metal surface fixed to the interior frames of a vessel for rigidity
[C14: of uncertain origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1348, celynge, "paneling, any interior surface of a building," noun formed (with -ing) from M.E. borrowing of M.Fr. verb celer "to conceal, cover with paneling" from L. celare (see cell); probably influenced by L. cælum "heaven, sky" (see
celestial). Colloquial phrase hit the ceiling "lose one's temper" is 1914.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Ceiling definition

the covering (1 Kings 7:3,7) of the inside roof and walls of a house with planks of wood (2 Chr. 3:5; Jer. 22:14). Ceilings were sometimes adorned with various ornaments in stucco, gold, silver, gems, and ivory. The ceilings of the temple and of Solomon's palace are described 1 Kings 6:9, 15; 7:3; 2 Chr. 3:5,9.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see glass ceiling; hit the ceiling.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The living room now glows with new wood floors and a lighter, less-obtrusive
  shade of paint on the ceiling beams and trim.
Raising the ceiling helped transform this room into a natural gathering place
The timber baron sits behind a desk of ebony, in a palisander chair, surrounded
  by palisander walls and ceiling and floor.
Walk catwalks in central atrium to your room: floor-to-ceiling windows, sepia
  artwork, eco-friendly soap dispensers.
Images for ceiling
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