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The background to the question:

If there is a horizontal ceiling that is attached to the tie-beams of a roof, creating a space above it, the space above is called an “attic” whether used as a living, storage, or simply ventilation space. If there is no ceiling but a portion of the area under the roof is sectioned off to create a usable space, that is usually called a “loft”. If there is no horizontal ceiling, but there is some form of internal covering, that does not follow the contour of the roof exactly, then it is called a “vaulted ceiling”. If there is no ceiling at all, or the ceiling exactly maps to the contour of the external roof, then it is called a “cathedral ceiling” - one can usually see the trusses and tie beams, which are painted or varnished wood, or decorated iron-work.

The question:

If when there is a ceiling, you can refer to that space above it as the “attic” of the house (whether that space is converted to a living space, or left untouched as simply the inside of the roof), what do you call the same space when there is no ceiling to define it? The space does manifest as a discrete space, even if there are no tie beams to physically demarcate it, as the eye divides the space into the rectangle of the living space and the triangle of the roof?

I am writing a poem, and hesitate to use the word “attic” as the first meaning of this will inevitably invoke the reader to imagine a ceiling, when there is none. I am interested in invoking this space as a space that is not occupied and so has a different deictic manifestation, a different mode in relation to the mimetic perception - it has a different meaning because it is not a space that one can readily occupy, the reader would not usually imagine themselves in (project themselves into)that space (unless watching the film Mary Poppins) and so it retains a sense of mystery even though it is clearly visible and, to all intents and purposes, part of the same space beneath it that the person does normally occupy.

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    For me, as a Br English speaker, there is a difference between an 'attic' and a 'loft' (or, in some dialects, a 'cock loft'). An "attic" is a proper room with flooring and windows or roof lights: most of them also have permanent stairs instead of ladder access and, usually, a normal door rather than a trapdoor or hatch . A "loft" is just the space between the top floor ceiling and the roof timbers. It may be boarded out and even have a small window but it's still a loft. I once lived in a house with attic bedrooms which still had a loft above the attic bedroom ceilings. – BoldBen May 26 '19 at 11:01
  • probable duplicate of english.stackexchange.com/questions/283177/… – Phil Sweet May 26 '19 at 11:10
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    writing a poem ... use any definition you choose. – lbf May 26 '19 at 11:43
  • See this answer: beneath the rafters. – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica May 27 '19 at 1:04
  • Thanks for the answers. I don’t think this is a duplicate question, I am asking about a space that is defined by a perception rather than one which is defined by any kind of physical divide. – David E Butler May 28 '19 at 21:09
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Up in the eaves

Yes, I know what eaves are to an architect and builder, but when you are talking about the interior of a building, up in the eaves means above the roof/wall joint. A google image search of up in the eaves returned the following images -

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Curated examples are a bit harder to find, but Collins Dictionary online has the following example - A wasp nest right above my desk, in the eaves of the roof. Times, Sunday Times (2014). Eaves: Collins dictionary online

And after all this, the question is probably a duplicate of this one.

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    +1: I don't understand the down vote — this is the only word I can think of for it. – Peter Shor May 26 '19 at 11:41
  • @PeterShor This answer to the duplicate Q also got a mysterious downvote. The usage is pretty common, but I haven't found a dictionary listing to support it. – Phil Sweet May 26 '19 at 11:47

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