[sey-buh or for 2, sahy-; Spanish they-vah, sey-]

noun, plural cei·bas [sey-buh z or for 2, sahy-; Spanish they-vahs, sey-] /ˈseɪ bəz or for 2, ˈsaɪ-; Spanish ˈθeɪ vɑs, ˈseɪ-/.

the silk-cotton tree, Ceiba pentandra.
silk cotton; kapok.

Origin of ceiba

1805–15; < Spanish < Taino ceyba or its cognate in another Arawakan language

La Ceiba

[lah sey-vah]


a seaport in N Honduras.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ceiba

Historical Examples of ceiba

  • The sacred tree is not named, but presumably it was the ceiba to which I refer elsewhere.


    Daniel G. Brinton

  • But he knew the ceiba, and the way back to it, all that they needed.

  • He tied them to a ceiba, where they had some sort of forage.

    When the Owl Cries

    Paul Bartlett

  • The ceiba on the wide savannah has endless room in which to spread.

  • The lovers stood in shadow—but it was the shadow of the ceiba.

    The Maroon

    Mayne Reid

British Dictionary definitions for ceiba



any bombacaceous tropical tree of the genus Ceiba, such as the silk-cotton tree
silk cotton; kapok

Word Origin for ceiba

C19: from New Latin, from Spanish, of Arawak origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012