On Cloud Nine —Its Meaning and Origin


The phrase “on cloud nine” is an idiom that means a person is feeling happy or delighted.

Example: Will has been searching hard for a job. He’s applied everywhere in town, but nobody has hired him yet. He began wondering if he would ever find work. However, later that week he was floating on cloud nine after finally receiving a job offer. (In other words, he felt delighted.)

Note: The verbs “hovering” or “floating” sometime come just before this expression.

1. As happy as a clam
2. As happy as a pig in mud
3. Over the moon

Floating On Cloud Nine
artjazz – stock.adobe.com.

The Origin Of ‘On Cloud Nine’

Where does this idiom come from? The phrase “on cloud nine” possibly originated from meteorologists, who sometimes classified different types of clouds by using numbers. The number given to a cloud was apparently dependent on its altitude. So, for example, a cloud given a 9 meant that it was high up, whereas a cloud given a smaller number indicated it was lower down. Something along those lines.

Anyways, in comparison to other commonly used phrases, this one in particular doesn’t look that old. It’s earliest appearance (that I know of) is in the Denton Record Chronicle, May 1949. To give some context for the following quote, a woman named Betty Hutton was accepted for a movie role, so she describes her feelings with this expression:

“Let’s look in on Betty Hutton, who says she is hovering ‘on Cloud No Nine’ these days.”

Example Sentences

Here are some example sentences of this expression and other, similar phrases:

  • Brian on was on cloud nine after his wife told him that she was pregnant.

Similar Examples:

  • I bought my son a remote controlled car and he was over the moon with excitement when he saw it.
  • I haven’t eaten all day, so once I grab a bite to eat I’ll be as happy as a clam.
  • This problem has soured my mood, but once I solve it I’ll be a happy camper.

Tip: Are you looking for the meaning of more popular sayings and phrases? Well, this site has that very thing, so maybe take a look around. Select a letter from the menu at the top to start browsing through the phrases list. You’ll find all sorts of expressions on there.