[ see-ling ]
See synonyms for ceiling on Thesaurus.com
  1. the overhead interior surface of a room.

  2. 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.

  1. Aeronautics.

    • 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.

  2. Meteorology. the height above ground level of the lowest layer of clouds that cover more than half of the sky.

  3. a lining applied for structural reasons to a framework, especially in the interior surfaces of a ship or boat.

  4. 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.

  5. the act or work of a person who makes or finishes a ceiling.

  6. vaulting, as in a medieval church.

Idioms about ceiling

  1. hit the ceiling, Informal. to become enraged: When he saw the amount of the bill, he hit the ceiling.

Origin of ceiling

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

Other words from ceiling

  • ceilinged, adjective
  • subceiling, noun
  • un·ceil·inged, adjective
  • un·der·ceil·ing, noun

Words that may be confused with ceiling

Words Nearby ceiling

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ceiling in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ceiling


/ (ˈsiːlɪŋ) /

  1. the inner upper surface of a room

    • an upper limit, such as one set by regulation on prices or wages

    • (as modifier): ceiling prices

  1. the upper altitude to which an aircraft can climb measured under specified conditions: See also service ceiling, absolute ceiling

  2. 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

  3. a wooden or metal surface fixed to the interior frames of a vessel for rigidity

Origin of ceiling

C14: of uncertain 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with ceiling


see glass ceiling; hit the ceiling.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.