On Cloud Nine – Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Welcome to the world of idiomatic expressions where, among other things, you can be over the moon, on top of the world, or, as we’re about to dive into, on cloud nine. So, buckle up, and let’s navigate through the cumulonimbus of understanding this curious idiomatic phrase. Ready?

What Is Cloud 9?

We say cloud nine to describe a state of extreme happiness or euphoria. It’s the mental space where you’re so unbelievably joyful that you feel like you’re floating in the air, way up high…on a cloud, perhaps? And not just any cloud, but specifically, the ninth one. But why the ninth cloud? Let’s dig a little deeper.

What Does On Cloud Nine Mean?

Being on cloud nine is about experiencing the zenith of utter joy and happiness. You’re not just happy; you’re floating on the puffy vapors of pure bliss. It’s like having a lifetime supply of your favorite ice cream without worrying about calories or running out of the triple chocolate fudge flavor.

I felt exactly like that when I got my very first publishing deal. The idea had always been a distant dream that almost felt unattainable. So, I sat on cloud nine for days when I learned I’d be a real, published author.

Cloud Nine or Cloud 9?

Whether you spell it as the numerical 9 or the word nine depends largely on stylistic preference and the guidelines you follow. Just know that both versions are grammatically correct and mean the same thing.

But writing out numbers under ten is generally recommended in formal writing, so cloud nine is often favored in anything outside of a casual text message or clever marketing.

The Origin and Etymology Behind Cloud 9

Regarding current usage, this quirky phrase became popular in the middle of the 20th century but is believed to originate from the cloud classification system of basic cloud types discovered in the 1800s.

In the category of clouds, the ninth cloud, or cumulonimbus, is the tallest of all cloud types, reaching up to 30,000 feet. Hence, being on cloud nine is akin to being at the highest point of happiness or satisfaction.

A cumulonimbus is the fluffiest, comfiest-looking of all the types of clouds, so that connection makes sense, too, because if you sit on a cloud, it better be comfortable.

Synonyms for Cloud Nine

Here are a few ideas to express that you’re exceedingly happy without saying cloud nine.

  • Over the moon
  • On top of the world
  • In seventh heaven
  • Walking on air
  • In a state of bliss
  • Cloud thirty-nine

Some Cloud Nine Examples in a Sentence

To help you better understand its use, here are a few examples I whipped up showing how the term cloud nine can be used in a sentence.

  • John was on cloud nine after finally getting promoted at work.
  • After winning this year’s championship, my son’s soccer team was on cloud nine.
  • She’s been on cloud nine since receiving the news about her university acceptance.
  • When I found out I’d won the publishing lottery and landed a book deal, I was on cloud nine for days.
  • Cloud seven isn’t good enough; I want to be on cloud nine.

Cloud Surfing Ends Here

So, there you have it! The idiom cloud nine has been decoded after learning a bit about the classifications of cloud nine. It’s a fun, whimsical way to express extreme joy or satisfaction. Use it wisely, and who knows, you might just lift someone’s spirit up to cloud nine. Want to learn about more cool idioms like this? I’ve got tons of guides to check out!