Etymology
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ceiling (n.)

mid-14c., celynge, "act of paneling a room," noun formed (with -ing) from Middle English verb ceil "put a cover or ceiling over," later "cover (walls) with wainscoting, panels, etc." (early 15c.); from Old French celer "to conceal," also "cover with paneling" (12c.), from Latin celare "to hide" (from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save"). Probably influenced by Latin caelum "heaven, sky" (see celestial).

Extended to the paneling itself from late 14c., then to lath-and-plaster work.  The meaning "interior overhead surface of a room" is attested by 1530s; by late 19c. the meaning "wainscoting" was only in provincial English. Figurative sense "upper limit" is from 1934. Colloquial figurative phrase hit the ceiling "lose one's temper, get explosively angry" attested by 1908; earlier it meant "to fail" (by 1900, originally U.S. college slang). Glass ceiling in the figurative sense of "invisible barrier that prevents women from advancing" in management, etc., is attested from 1988.

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soffit (n.)
architectural term referring to under-faces, 1610s, from Italian soffita, fem. of soffitto "ceiling," noun use of adjective meaning "fixed beneath," from Vulgar Latin *suffictus "fastened below," from Latin suffixus (see suffix (n.)).
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punching (n.)

c. 1400, "the cutting out of figures;" early 15c. as "the action of delivering blows with the fist," verbal noun from punch (v.). Related: Punching-bag "bag, generally large and heavy, suspended from the ceiling to be punched by an athlete, especially a boxer, for training or exercise" is by 1889 (also punch-bag); the figurative sense is attested by 1903.

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pinata (n.)

"decorated container (originally a pot) filled with sweets and small gifts, suspended from a ceiling and broken by a blindfolded person on festive occasions," 1887, from Mexican Spanish piñata, in Spanish "jug, pot," ultimately from Latin pinea "pine cone," from pinus (see pine (n.)).

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cornice (n.)

1560s, "a molded projection which crowns the part to which it is affixed," from French corniche (16c.) or directly from Italian cornice "ornamental molding along a wall," perhaps from Latin coronis "curved line, flourish in writing," from Greek koronis "curved object" (see crown). Perhaps influenced by (or even from) Latin cornicem, accusative of cornix "crow" (compare corbel). Sense of "ornamental molding running round the walls of a room just below the ceiling" is from 1660s.

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trapeze (n.)

swing with a cross-bar, used for feats of strength and agility, 1861, from French trapèze, from Late Latin trapezium (see trapezium), probably because the crossbar, the ropes and the ceiling formed a trapezium.

The French, to whose powers of invention (so long as you do not insist upon utility) there is no limit, have invented for the world the Trapeze .... [Chambers's Journal, July 6, 1861]
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loft (n.)
"an upper chamber," c. 1300, an extended sense from late Old English loft "the sky; the sphere of the air," from Old Norse lopt (Scandinavian -pt- pronounced like -ft-) "air, sky," originally "upper story, loft, attic," from Proto-Germanic *luftuz "air, sky" (source also of Old English lyft, Dutch lucht, Old High German luft, German Luft, Gothic luftus "air").

If this is correct, the sense development would be from "loft, ceiling" to "sky, air." Buck suggests a further connection with Old High German louft "bark," louba "roof, attic," etc., with development from "bark" to "roof made of bark" to "ceiling," though this did not directly inform the meaning "air, sky" (compare lodge (n.)). But Watkins says this is "probably a separate Germanic root." Meaning "gallery in a church" first attested c. 1500. From 1520s as "apartment over a stable" used for hay storage, etc.
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chandelier (n.)

"branched cluster of lights suspended from a ceiling," 1736, from Middle English chaundeler "candlestick" (late 14c.), from Old French chandelier (n.1), 12c., earlier chandelabre "candlestick, candelabrum" (10c.), from Latin candelabrum, from candela "candle" (see candle).

Originally a candlestick, then a cluster of them; finally a distinction was made (with a re-spelling mid-18c. in French fashion; during 17c. the French spelling referred to a military device), between a candelabrum, which stands, and a chandelier, which hangs.

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vault (n.1)
"arched roof or ceiling," c. 1300, vaute, from Old French voute "arch, vaulting, vaulted roof or chamber," from Vulgar Latin *volta, contraction of *volvita, noun use of fem. of *volvitus, alteration of Latin volutus "bowed, arched," past participle of volvere "to turn, turn around, roll," from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." The -l- appeared in English c. 1400, an etymological insertion in imitation of earlier forms (compare fault (n.), assault (n.)).
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ransack (v.)

mid-13c., ransaken, "to plunder; to make a search, search thoroughly," from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse rannsaka "to pillage," literally "search the house" (especially legally, for stolen goods), from rann "house," from Proto-Germanic *raznan (c.f. Gothic razn, Old English ærn "house;" Old English rægn "a plank, ceiling;" see barn) + saka "to search," related to Old Norse soekja "seek" (see seek). Properly it would have evolved as *ransake; the present form perhaps was influenced by sack (v.1). Related: Ransacked; ransacking.

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