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

1605–15; < French soffite < Italian soffitto < Vulgar Latin *suffīctus, for Latin suffīxus; see suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
soffit (ˈsɒfɪt)
1.  the underside of a part of a building or a structural component, such as an arch, beam, stair, etc
2.  Compare invert crown, Also called: vertex the upper inner surface of a drain or sewer
[C17: via French from Italian soffitto, from Latin suffixus something fixed underneath, from suffīgere, from sub- under + fīgere to fasten]

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

1613, from It. soffita, fem. of soffitto "ceiling," originally "fixed beneath," from L. sub- "under" + pp. of figere "to fix, fasten" (see fix).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Close inspection and soffit removal will entail working up under the eaves.
While the fascia is off, inspect the space enclosed by the soffit to make sure it is ventilated.
The soffit is partially in the doorway as it is and is not even centered between the two windows.
The flat roof with its overhanging soffit reinforces the sprawling horizontal design.
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