[ see-ling ]
/ ˈsi lɪŋ /



    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

Related forms

ceil·inged, adjectivesub·ceil·ing, nounun·ceil·inged, adjectiveun·der·ceil·ing, noun

Can be confused

ceiling sealing

Definition for ceiling (2 of 2)


[ seel ]
/ sil /

verb (used with object)

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

Origin of ceil

1400–50; late Middle English celen to cover, to panel < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ceiling

British Dictionary definitions for ceiling (1 of 2)


/ (ˈsiːlɪŋ) /


the inner upper surface of a room
  1. an upper limit, such as one set by regulation on prices or wages
  2. (as modifier)ceiling prices
the upper altitude to which an aircraft can climb measured under specified conditionsSee also service ceiling, absolute ceiling
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
a wooden or metal surface fixed to the interior frames of a vessel for rigidity

Word Origin for ceiling

C14: of uncertain origin

British Dictionary definitions for ceiling (2 of 2)


/ (siːl) /

verb (tr)

to line (a ceiling) with plaster, boarding, etc
to provide with a ceiling

Word Origin for ceil

C15 celen, perhaps back formation from ceiling
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

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.