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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English celing (paneling; (bed) cover or hanging), from celen (to cover or panel walls) (from Old French celer (to conceal)) + -ing (gerund-forming suffix).


Ceiling with lights

ceiling (plural ceilings)

  1. The overhead closure of a room.
    The dining room had an ornate ceiling.
  2. The upper limit of an object or action.
    • 2008, N. Gregory Mankiw, Principles of Economics, volume 1, page 114:
      Market forces naturally move the economy to the equilibrium, and the price ceiling has no effect on the price or the quantity sold.
  3. (aviation) The highest altitude at which an aircraft can safely maintain flight.
  4. (meteorology) The measurement of visible distance from ground or sea level to an overcast cloud cover; under a clear sky, the ceiling measurement is identified as "unlimited."
    Even though it was cloudy, there was still enough ceiling for the Blue Angels to perform a great show.
  5. (mathematics) The smallest integer greater than or equal to a given number.
    The ceiling of 4.5 is 5; the ceiling of −4.5 is −4.
  6. (nautical) The inner planking of a vessel.
  7. (finance) The maximum permitted level in a financial transaction.
  8. (architecture) The overhead interior surface that covers the upper limits of a room.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]



  1. present participle and gerund of ceil