soffit n : the underside of a part of a building (such as an arch or overhang or beam etc.)
- Rhymes with: -ɒfɪ
Soffit (from French soffite, Italian soffitto, formed as a ceiling; directly from suffictus for suffixus, Latin suffigere, to fix underneath), in architecture, describes the underside of any construction element. Examples of soffits include:
- the underside of an arch or architrave (whether supported by piers or columns),
- the underside of a flight of stairs, under the classical entablature,
- the underside of a projecting cornice, or
- the underside of a ceiling to fill the space above the kitchen cabinets, at the corner of the ceiling and wall.
In popular use, soffit most often refers to the material forming a ceiling from the top of an exterior house wall to the outer edge of the roof, i.e., bridging the gap between a home's siding and the roofline, otherwise known as the eaves.
Soffit exposure profile (from wall to fascia) on a buildings' exterior can vary from a few centimetres (2-3 inches) to well beyond a meter (3 feet) depending on construction. It can be non-ventilated or ventilated for cooling non livable attic space.
soffit in French: Soffite