a. The upper interior surface of a room.
b. Material used to cover this surface.
2. Something resembling a ceiling: a ceiling of leaves over the arbor.
3. An upper limit, especially as set by regulation: wage and price ceilings.
a. The highest altitude under particular weather conditions from which the ground is still visible.
b. The altitude of the lowest layer of clouds.
c. The maximum altitude that an aircraft can reach under a given set of conditions, such as a minimum rate of climb.
5. Nautical The planking applied to the interior framework of a ship.
[Middle English celing, from celen, to ceil; see CEIL.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.