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. Later that week, he got a call for a job offer. He was floating on cloud nine after he heard it. (In other words, he was happy.)
Note: The verbs “hovering” or “floating” sometimes precede this expression.
Synonyms / Related Phrases:
1. As happy as a clam
2. As happy as a pig in mud
3. Over the moon
Floating On Cloud Nine

The Origin Of ‘On Cloud Nine’

The phrase “on cloud nine” possibly comes 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

Similar phrases to “on cloud nine” include “as happy as a clam,” “as happy as a pig in mud,” and “over the moon.” Here are some example sentences:

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

Similar Examples:

  • I bought my son an action figure of a character from his favorite TV show. He was over the moon with excitement when he saw it.
  • I was craving a sweet snack and there’s one chocolate bar left in the box! I’m as happy as a pig in mud right now.
  • I haven’t eaten all day, so once I grab a bite to eat I’ll as happy as a clam.

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.

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