Definition of cloud in English:

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Pronunciation: /klaʊd/


1A visible mass of condensed watery vapour floating in the atmosphere, typically high above the general level of the ground: the sun had disappeared behind a cloud [mass noun]: the sky was almost free of cloud
More example sentences
  • It collected in the atmosphere above cloud level and last night had spread across southern England and was heading towards the Channel
  • As air rises, it cools, and its humidity begins condensing into clouds and precipitation.
  • Flashes of lightning can illuminate entire clouds, making them visible from miles away.
1.1An indistinct or billowing mass, especially of smoke or dust: a cloud of dust
More example sentences
  • All he could see was a cloud of dust and smoke rising from the devastated Stable Block.
  • When I looked over the edge of the foxhole, the village was obscured by a cloud of dust and smoke.
  • A cloud of smoke billowed up from the barrel of the pistol and the odor of gunpowder filled her nostrils.
mass, billow, pall, shroud, mantle, blanket, layer, sheet, curtain, canopy
1.2A large number of insects or birds moving together: clouds of orange butterflies
More example sentences
  • I remember this from childhood - great clouds of oversized winged insects, swarming up from the pavement cracks and the nooks and crannies in walls.
  • A handful of shorebirds scampered among clouds of tiny insects and piles of seaweed.
  • During the hot weather it's a pestilential place, populated by heavy clouds of biting insects.
swarm, flock, flight, hive, covey, drove, herd;
mass, multitude, host, horde, throng, crowd
1.3An opaque patch within a transparent substance.
Example sentences
  • However, within the boundary layer shallow clouds can form, particularly if the surface is moist.
2Used to refer to a state or cause of gloom, suspicion, trouble, or worry: the only cloud on the immediate horizon is raising a mortgage the dark clouds of a major recession a black cloud hung over their lives
More example sentences
  • An enormous cloud of worries and troubles covered my weary heart.
  • A dark cloud of suspicion hangs over his internment though.
  • By July 2000 the dark clouds appeared to have parted for him.
threat, menace, shadow, spectre, blight;
gloom, darkness, chill, pall;
trouble, problem, worry
2.1A frowning or depressed look: a cloud passed over Jessica’s face
More example sentences
  • He looks downcast, a frown passing like a cloud over his famously large forehead.
  • And then the mood expires and it's like a cloud has passed over his face.
  • She was looking into his face but he was sure it was not for that reason that a cloud passed over her expression.
3 (usually the cloud) Computing A network of remote servers hosted on the Internet and used to store, manage, and process data in place of local servers or personal computers: there’s a rich, complex, shared data store in the cloud [as modifier]: once you are logged in to your cloud storage space, you can upload files to it and share them with others
More example sentences
  • Multiple links to the cloud can provide much higher aggregate bandwidth.
  • The future of computing is more balanced, in the cloud or in the browser.
  • Browsers are the way for users to interact with the cloud, he said.


1 [no object] (Of the sky) become overcast or gloomy: the blue skies clouded over abruptly
More example sentences
  • The wind howled as the skies clouded over and threatened rain.
  • As we grew closer the sky clouded over, the mist closed in, and it began to drizzle.
  • The sky has clouded over almost entirely, the day has darkened.
become cloudy, cloud over, become overcast, become gloomy, grow dim, lour, blacken, darken, dim
1.1 [with object] Darken (the sky) with cloud: the western sky was still clouded
More example sentences
  • The night sky was a clouded one, blocking out all light from the moon.
  • The sky above was now clouded and a light drizzle began to fall to the ground.
  • The sky is overcast, clouded by dank mists of humidity thronging the volcanoes and mountains.
2Make or become less clear or transparent: [with object]: blood pumped out, clouding the water [no object]: her eyes clouded with tears
More example sentences
  • Barbara answered, tears clouding her clear green eyes.
  • There were some splinters of wood in a glass case, the clear surface clouded with age.
  • Before she was well on her feet, she was dashing for home, her vision clouded by tears as she fumbled along the road.
make cloudy, make murky, dirty, darken, blacken;
North American  roil, rile
2.1 [with object] Make (a matter or mental process) unclear or uncertain: don’t allow your personal feelings to cloud your judgement
More example sentences
  • His judgement could have been clouded by the alcohol he had drunk and he may have been so overwhelmed with pain that he took extra tablets.
  • He admitted that his judgment had been clouded by drink.
  • Meanwhile, toxic waste, agricultural pesticides and heavy metals continue to cloud our water supply.
confuse, muddle;
make unclear, obscure, fog, befog, muddy, blur
2.2 [with object] Spoil (something): the general election was clouded by violence
More example sentences
  • However, instead of clouding my love of James Cook, unpeeling the onion layers of George's life and his own discoveries added a vital new angle to the traditional Cook story.
  • She demonstrates how this colossal structure of deceit clouds the historical record.
  • The incident clouds their enjoyment of the party, because her mother becomes quiet and distant.
3 [no object] (Of someone’s face or eyes) show an emotion such as worry, sorrow, or anger: his expression clouded over
More example sentences
  • His eyes clouded over in anger, as his own words were thrown back at him.
  • Gregory's face clouded over with anger and he moved to the seat across from her and looked at her.
  • He looked at himself in the mirror, still brooding, eyes clouded over with anger and hatred.
3.1 [with object] (Of an emotion such as worry, sorrow, or anger) show in (someone’s face): suspicion clouded her face
More example sentences
  • Emotion clouded his face as he hastily made his exit.
  • A mixed flash of anger and fear and apprehension clouded his face.
  • Alexander did leave this time, a mixture of anger, fear and anxiety clouding his clean-shaven face.



every cloud has a silver lining

see silver.

in the clouds

Out of touch with reality: this clergyman was in the clouds
More example sentences
  • As much as she wanted to order her head to look at reality, it still seemed to want to walk around in the clouds sometimes.
  • He's either way up in the clouds or way down in the gutter.
  • The Commissioner hasn't his head in the clouds about the perceived romantic side to organic production.

on cloud nine (or seven)

Extremely happy: I was on cloud nine once I had completed it
With reference to a ten-part classification of clouds in which ‘nine’ was next to the highest
More example sentences
  • Now I knew why he was so happy upon my entering, he was on cloud nine, and was ecstatic to have someone to share it with.
  • To play for the school team at cricket and football put me on cloud nine.
  • She was on cloud nine when she came home that evening,’ says her father.
ecstatic, rapturous, joyful, elated, blissful, joyous, beatific, euphoric, enraptured, in seventh heaven, transported, in transports, in raptures, beside oneself with joy/happiness, rhapsodic, ravished, enchanted, delighted, thrilled, overjoyed, very happy
informal over the moon, on top of the world, walking on air, blissed out
Australian informal wrapped

under a cloud

Under suspicion or discredited: he left under something of a cloud, accused of misappropriating funds
More example sentences
  • MPs were now under a cloud of suspicion, and the public could be forgiven for thinking the scandal involved them all.
  • The fact that the whole industry is under a cloud of suspicion hasn't helped either.
  • He mixes easily with criminals, and suspicions abound that he was a bent copper who left under a cloud.
in disgrace, disgraced, discredited, shamed

with one's head in the clouds

(Of a person) out of touch with reality; daydreaming: he’s always got his head in the clouds
More example sentences
  • After all, a man with responsibilities can't walk around with his head in the clouds all the time.
  • You've been wandering around with your head in the clouds for almost a month, you look like you're sleepwalking most of the time.
  • Jane ignored him, ‘You're always wandering around with your head in the clouds, aren't you Peter?



Pronunciation: /ˈklaʊdlət/
Example sentences
  • The supernova generated a propagating shock wave, that continues to move rapidly through the low-density bubble interior, and shocks these cloudlets, shredding them fiercely.
  • Puffs of chalk dust are represented by cloudlets of white spray paint in one drawing on graph paper from the late 1960s.
  • City lights sprawled below, growing brighter and dimmer sporadically as the pod passed through low level cloudlets.


Old English clūd 'mass of rock or earth'; probably related to clot. sense 1 of the noun dates from Middle English.

  • The Old English word cloud was first used to refer to a mass of rock or earth, and is probably related to clot (Old English). Only around the end of the 13th century did the meaning ‘visible mass of condensed watery vapour’ develop, presumably because people could see a resemblance in shape between a cloud and rocks.

    On cloud nine you are extremely happy. A possible source of the expression is the classification of clouds given in a meteorological guide published in 1896 called the International Cloud Atlas. According to this guide there are ten basic types of cloud, cumulonimbus being the one numbered nine. Cumulonimbus clouds are the ones that form a towering fluffy mass. They get their name from Latin cumulus ‘a heap’ found also in accumulate (Late Middle English). ‘Cloud nine’ is said to have been popularized by the Johnny Dollar radio show in the USA during the 1950s. Johnny Dollar was a fictional insurance investigator who got into a lot of scrapes. Every time he was knocked unconscious he was taken to ‘cloud nine’, where he recovered. Cloud cuckoo land is a translation of Greek Nephelokokkugia (from nephelē ‘cloud’ and kokkux ‘cuckoo’). This was the name the ancient Greek dramatist Aristophanes gave to the city built by the birds in his comedy The Birds. According to the proverb every cloud has a silver lining, even the gloomiest outlook contains some hopeful or consoling aspect. The saying is recorded from the 19th century, though John Milton expresses a similar sentiment in Comus in 1643: ‘Was I deceiv'd or did a sable cloud / Turn forth her silver lining on the night?’

Words that rhyme with cloud

aloud, becloud, crowd, enshroud, loud, Macleod, proud, shroud, Stroud, unavowed, unbowed, unendowed, unploughed (US unplowed)

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cloud

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