Definition of roof in English:



  • 1The structure forming the upper covering of a building or vehicle.

    • ‘Unplanned expenses over the last few years for a new roof, replacement gutters, and new carpeting have stretched them to the limit.’
    • ‘A boat was speeding along the rather rough seas, a heavy storm beating down over the roof of the vehicle.’
    • ‘Beyond the house was what appeared to be a tiny village, but was in fact a number of farm buildings with thatched roofs.’
    • ‘The missionaries introduced the burnt brick, used to build into square structures, while the colonists built wood-frame structures with metal roofs.’
    • ‘Four- and five-story structures with terra-cotta roofs and numerous balconies soon appear.’
    • ‘Many of the buildings have lost their thatched roofs or have had them replaced by crude sheets of corrugated iron.’
    • ‘Rural houses usually are built of traditional materials and are open-sided rectangular structures with thatched roofs and raised floors.’
    • ‘In this area, most roofs are covered with asphalt shingles.’
    • ‘Their thatch roofs start with a log frame, followed by thin bamboo, leaves, and, finally, grass.’
    • ‘She peered down the side of the building to see the roof of another structure less than five or six feet below.’
    • ‘Houses in villages are commonly rectangular, and are dried mud, bamboo, or red brick structures with thatch roofs.’
    • ‘Burnt roof timbers beneath the collapsed tiles show it was destroyed in a fire.’
    • ‘The tiered seating is protected with a cantilevered roof structure that hovers over the stadium.’
    • ‘Her mother stumbled and fell against a wall, and the movement brought down a weakened timber from the roof.’
    • ‘The aged timber cracked and the roof began to give way, spraying us with a shower of dirt and small debris.’
    1. 1.1The top inner surface of a covered area or space; the ceiling.
      ‘the roof of the cave fell in’
      • ‘These are special liners on the sides and sometimes the roof and back of an oven, which are treated with a material that absorbs those greasy splashes.’
      roof, vault, vaulting
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Used to signify a house or other building, especially in the context of hospitality or shelter.
      ‘helping those without a roof over their heads’
      ‘they slept under the same roof’
      • ‘He was nearly 40 before he could afford to feed his family or keep a roof over their heads.’
      • ‘So much so that many people did not even have a roof over their heads.’
      • ‘She was legally his wife, though they'd never shared a roof together in the forty years since they met at art school.’
      • ‘I know you must share a roof with him.’
      • ‘Too many people drift through life, doing jobs they stumble into that pay the bills and keep a roof over their heads.’
      • ‘All they can offer is a roof for the night, some local brew, and a meal at which most dogs would turn up their noses.’
      • ‘She had been homeless until a friend, the property's tenant, offered her a roof.’
      • ‘No one goes hungry, we all have a roof over our heads to shelter us, and happiness is a common visitor.’
      • ‘He sometimes shared a roof with other wanderers.’
      • ‘The woman worked two jobs to keep a roof over their heads and food on their table.’
      • ‘I can offer her a roof and I'll share my food with her.’
      • ‘I shall never share a roof with her again!’
      • ‘The Cabin was small and fairly uncomfortable but it was a roof over their heads and that at least was something.’
      • ‘Got to go to the charity ball so that those poor dears get a roof over their heads.’
      • ‘This means that if you are unable to keep up repayments you will lose the roof over your head.’
      • ‘The meeting was held in the open air; for Ethelbert had a superstitious fear that they might do him some mischief by magical arts, if he were to trust himself under a roof with them.’


  • 1 Cover with a roof.

    ‘the yard had been roughly roofed over with corrugated iron’
    • ‘Huts vary: round, square, tin-roofed or thatched.’
    • ‘Perhaps it'd once been a balcony around the edge of the courtyard, now it was opened out, floored in polished wood, roofed over, and provided with an ornate balcony rail.’
    • ‘Joist holes show how the intervening space was roofed over.’
    • ‘While rural communities still contain examples of traditional round huts with thatched conical roofs, most newer houses have a rectangular floor plan and are roofed with sheets of corrugated zinc or tin.’
    • ‘Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, museums and art galleries have been extended or altered or had their courtyards roofed over.’
    • ‘The building is framed in wood on the south side and roofed with metal to collect rain water.’
    • ‘In the brick paved courtyard to the rear, there is a newly roofed stone building with loft, which could be converted into a studio, workshop or provide extra bedrooms for a bed and breakfast facility.’
    • ‘These rectangular structures sit on top of traditional flat roofed buildings, catching the slightest breeze and funnelling the wind down into the structure.’
    • ‘The second floor is mansard roofed, and contains two en suite bedrooms, one of which could be used as a home gymnasium.’
    • ‘Wealthier people such as civil servants and merchants live in dwellings constructed of cement blocks, laid with a cement floor, and roofed with metal sheets.’
    • ‘This building looked massive and well built, and was roofed over with lead.’
    • ‘Soon she came to the second floor of a large very cold open roofed hall.’
    1. 1.1Function as the roof of.
      ‘fan vaults roof these magnificent buildings’
      • ‘It, like the other buildings, was growing out of the tree, it was roofed by huge leaves that overlapped like shingles, the huge doors were composed of what looked like vines, but were far too thick, and too far above ground to be roots.’


  • go through the roof

    • 1informal (of prices or figures) reach extreme or unexpected heights.

      • ‘But people in their late 20s and early 30s with above-average salaries can no longer afford a house and are trying to rent, while rents are going through the roof.’
      • ‘Fuelled by optimism and cheap money, asset prices and investment went through the roof.’
      • ‘Land supply slowed to a trickle; prices went through the roof and governments reaped huge rewards, instead of meeting the needs of people seeking to buy a home.’
      • ‘House prices are going through the roof, and so you'd probably like an agent to drop by and make a free valuation of your house.’
      • ‘If we get a brutally cold December and January, prices will go back up and heating oil prices could go through the roof.’
      • ‘In the markets, demand for lambs has gone through the roof this week, with many sale yards quoting prices dearer by up to $20 and $30 per head.’
      • ‘For example, take domestic energy prices, which have been going through the roof this year.’
      • ‘The only factor is that the prices have gone through the roof, and the quality of timber deteriorated, as the trees felled these days are much younger than those felled a decade ago.’
      • ‘With gas prices going through the roof, it should come as no big surprise that some motorists are looking for alternative sources to power their cars.’
      • ‘Energy prices have gone through the roof and somehow taken a route through your wallet to get there.’
    • 2informal

      another way of saying hit the roof
      • ‘When I got there on Wednesday and was told there were still no beds, I hit the roof.’
      • ‘Before your stress level hits the roof, focus on the fact that your best friend is coming to see you and not your house and in no time you can become a well-oiled hospitality machine.’
      • ‘My parents hit the roof when they found out I'd gotten detention.’
      • ‘I knew Kitty would hit the roof, so I picked up a bribe.’
      • ‘When she saw the coat and heard John had bought it for me she hit the roof.’
      • ‘She said ‘My father would hit the roof if he found out.’’
      be very angry, be furious, lose one's temper, go into a rage, breathe fire
      go mad, go crazy, be hopping mad, be livid, go wild, go bananas, have a fit, blow one's top, blow a fuse, blow a gasket, do one's nut, go through the roof, go up the wall, go off the deep end, go ape, flip, flip one's lid, lose one's rag, be fit to be tied, go non-linear
      go spare, go crackers, get one's knickers in a twist
      flip one's wig
      View synonyms
  • hit the roof

    • Suddenly become very angry.

  • raise the roof

    • Make or cause someone else to make a great deal of noise, especially through cheering.

      ‘when I finally scored, the fans raised the roof’
      • ‘I sincerely hope that the next time Paula sets foot in a British stadium, the crowd absolutely raise the roof for her.’
      • ‘The arrival of both teams was greeted by a huge ovation as the small crowd of only 32,187 supporters raised the roof and made their presence felt.’
      • ‘He is urging fans to raise the roof and roar Burnley to safety.’
      • ‘It was just fantastic; there were 4000 voices raising the roof - shivers down the spine stuff.’
      • ‘The team grew in confidence after that goal and, with the home supporters raising the roof, Azerbaijan looked shaken.’
      • ‘When they start singing the Marseillaise, they can raise the roof - and that is enough to put the fear of God into any opposition.’
      • ‘At the time you complained that your laughs disappeared into the cavernous sky-high ceiling, but two of the Canuck comics preceding you had no problem firing up the crowd and raising the roof.’
      • ‘More than 100 people, including his friends and family, packed out the pub on Saturday night, and raised the roof when the results were announced.’
      • ‘A big Manchester crowd raised the roof as the Grantown-on-Spey rider clocked an impressive time, just a tenth of a second slower than his best.’
      • ‘The New Zealand Barbarians received polite applause and the England team, not surprisingly, were met with a standing ovation that raised the roof.’
  • the roof of the world

    • A nickname given to the Himalayas.

      • ‘Comprising two of Asia's major mountain ranges, the mountains of Central Asia were known to early Persians as the roof of the world.’
      • ‘Get up onto the roof of the world, they don't get bigger than the High Himalayas, and all the rest of life just seems to fall into place around you.’
      • ‘Tourism is an important part of Nepal's economy and Sagarmatha National Park is a popular destination, with people drawn to the roof of the world.’
      • ‘Hillary's memory remains crystal clear about what they endured during that final push to the top on May 29, 1953, which resulted in his becoming the first person in history to stand on the roof of the world.’
      • ‘Everest has been climbed by more than 1,300 men and women, including nearly 80 Japanese, since Hillary and Tenzing first set foot on the roof of the world.’


Old English hrōf, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse hróf boat shed Dutch roef deckhouse English alone has the general sense covering of a house; other Germanic languages use forms related to thatch.