in the clouds,
    1. in a condition of absent-mindedness; lost in reverie.
    2. impractical: Their schemes are usually up in the clouds.
    on a cloud, Informal. exceedingly happy; in high spirits: On the night of the prom the seniors were on a cloud.
    under a cloud, in disgrace; under suspicion: After going bankrupt he left town under a cloud.

Origin of cloud

before 900; Middle English; Old English clūd rock, hill; probably akin to clod
Related formscloud·like, adjectivein·ter·cloud, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for cloud

Synonym study

19. Cloud, fog, haze, mist differ somewhat in their figurative uses. Cloud connotes especially daydreaming: His mind is in the clouds. Fog and haze connote especially bewilderment or confusion: to go around in a fog ( haze ). Mist has an emotional connotation and suggests tears: a mist in one's eyes. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for clouding

Contemporary Examples of clouding

  • Already, today, it is clouding over and feeling distinctly cooler in London.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Rain, Rain, Go Away!

    Tom Sykes

    May 31, 2012

Historical Examples of clouding

British Dictionary definitions for clouding



a mass of water or ice particles visible in the sky, usually white or grey, from which rain or snow falls when the particles coagulateSee also cirrus, cumulonimbus, cumulus, stratus
any collection of particles visible in the air, esp of smoke or dust
a large number of insects or other small animals in flight
something that darkens, threatens, or carries gloom
jewellery a cloudlike blemish in a transparent stone
(modifier) of or relating to cloud computinga cloud application
in the clouds not in contact with reality
under a cloud
  1. under reproach or suspicion
  2. in a state of gloom or bad temper
on cloud nine informal elated; very happy


(when intr, often foll by over or up) to make or become cloudy, overcast, or indistinct
(tr) to make obscure; darken
(tr) to confuse or impairemotion clouded his judgment
to make or become gloomy or depressed
(tr) to place under or render liable to suspicion or disgrace
to render (liquids) milky or dull or (of liquids) to become milky or dull
to become or render mottled or variegated
Derived Formscloudless, adjectivecloudlessly, adverbcloudlessness, nouncloudlike, adjective

Word Origin for cloud

C13 (in the sense: a mass of vapour): from Old English clūd rock, hill; probably related to clod
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for clouding



Old English clud "mass of rock, hill," related to clod. Metaphoric extension to "raincloud, mass of evaporated water in the sky" is attested by c.1200 based on similarity of cumulus clouds and rock masses. The usual Old English word for "cloud" was weolcan. In Middle English, skie also originally meant "cloud."

The four fundamental types of cloud classification (cirrus, cumulus, stratus, nimbus) were proposed by British amateur meteorologist Luke Howard (1772-1864) in 1802. Figuratively, as something that casts a shadow, from early 15c.; hence under a cloud (c.1500). In the clouds "removed from earthly things; obscure, fanciful, unreal" is from 1640s. Cloud-compeller translates (poetically) Greek nephelegereta, a Homeric epithet of Zeus.



early 15c., "overspread with clouds, cover, darken," from cloud (n.). From 1510s as "to render dim or obscure;" 1590s as "to overspread with gloom." Intransitive sense of "become cloudy" is from 1560s. Related: Clouded; clouding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for clouding



A visible body of very fine water droplets or ice particles suspended in the atmosphere at altitudes ranging up to several miles above sea level. Clouds are formed when air that contains water vapor cools below the dew point.
A distinguishable mass of particles or gas, such as the collection of gases and dust in a nebula.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with clouding


In addition to the idioms beginning with cloud

  • cloud over

also see:

  • head in the clouds
  • on cloud nine
  • silver lining, every cloud has
  • under a cloud
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.