Glossary Home Idioms

On cloud nine

“On cloud nine” is a common English idiom that’s used to refer to a  state of blissful happiness that one is experiencing.

“On cloud nine” likely dates back to at least the 1950s in the United States and maybe earlier. It’s unclear at this point why the number “nine” or the image of a cloud became associated with this emotional experience. 

On cloud nine idiom meaning


Meaning of “On cloud nine” 

The phrase “on cloud nine” refers to a state of euphoria that comes about through success, joy, and intense pleasure. One might say they are “on cloud nine” after they achieve a goal they’ve been striving after for a great deal of time. This blissful happiness can come about in any imaginable way. It is going to depend entirely on the speaker’s perception of their experience if they feel it’s right to use the words. 


When To Use “On cloud nine” 

It’s possible to use “on cloud nine” in a wide variety of situations, ranging from a romantic date to a family gathering, a peaceful vacation, or any imaginable kind of success. This might mean getting a much-needed grade, winning an award or prize, or achieving a goal one has worked a long time for.  

For example, one might say, “I can’t believe I won! I’m on cloud nine!” after realizing that they’ve been selected for an award. Or, in another situation, someone might say, “this was really a wonderful evening, I’m on cloud nine,” in reference to a date or a gathering with friends. It’s also possible to use the phrase in the form of a question. If someone notices that their friend seems particularly pleased after getting a piece of good news one might say, “How are you feeling right now? Are you on cloud nine?” 


Example Sentences With “On cloud nine” 

  • This has been an incredible day. I’m on cloud nine. 
  • I’m on cloud nine right now, you really have no idea what this means to me. 
  • Yes, finally! It’s over! I’m totally on cloud nine right now. 
  • We were running around like we were on cloud nine until we realized the committee hadn’t actually said our names. 
  • When was the last time you felt like this? You look like you’re on cloud nine. 


Why Do Writers Use “On cloud nine?” 

Writer use “on cloud nine” in the same way and for the same reasons that the phrase is used in everyday conversations. Like all idioms, this phrase is hard to understand unless one has heard it, read it, or seen it in some form before. Understanding the words, “on cloud nine” doesn’t mean that one is going to know what they are, in this context, referring to. This is something that writers are very much aware of and take into consideration when using phrases like this. They might be okay with using an obscure idiom (one far less-known than this one) and knowing that some people won’t understand it. This technique might add credence to a character’s traits and heritage or it might just confuse the reader. 


Origins of “On cloud nine” 

“On cloud nine” is believed to have originated from the classifications of cloud which were defined by the US Weather Bureau in the 1950s. The ninth could refer to fluffy cumulonimbus clouds that are those considered to be the most aesthetic. It is interesting to consider the other possible origins of the number nine in this phrase, especially when other numbers, specifically seven, have more heavenly/peaceful connotations. For example, the “seventh heaven,” or the most exalted level where God dwells over the angels. There, the Bible describes the most righteous souls and the souls of those yet to be born residing.

It’s not entirely clear if the Weather Bureau classification is genuine or if it’s part of an anecdote that’s evolved over time. Nor is it clear why the number “nine” became tied to this phrase. But, this is often the case with idioms, proverbs, and other colloquialisms. 


Related Idioms 

The Best-Kept Secrets of Poetry

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry ever straight to your inbox

Share to...