Meaning of CLOUD in English


I. cloud 1 S3 W3 /klaʊd/ BrE AmE noun

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: clud 'rock, hill' ; because some clouds look like rocks ]

1 . IN THE SKY [uncountable and countable] a white or grey mass in the sky that forms from very small drops of water

heavy/thick/dense etc clouds

Dark clouds floated across the moon.

Heavy clouds had gathered over the summit of Mont Blanc.

low/high cloud

Visibility was bad due to low cloud.

⇨ ↑ storm cloud , ↑ thundercloud

2 . IN THE AIR [countable] a mass of dust, smoke etc in the air, or a large number of insects flying together

cloud of dust/smoke/gas etc

A cloud of steam rose into the air.

clouds of mosquitoes buzzing around us

3 . PROBLEM [countable] something that makes you feel afraid, worried, unhappy etc

cloud of

the cloud of economic recession

cloud on the horizon (=something that might spoil a happy situation)

The only cloud on the horizon was her mother’s illness.

Fears of renewed terrorist attacks cast a cloud over the event (=spoilt the happy situation) .

He returned to New York under a cloud of gloom and despair.

4 . under a cloud (of suspicion) informal if someone is under a cloud, people have a bad opinion of them because they think they have done something wrong:

He left the company under a cloud of suspicion.

5 . be on cloud nine informal to be very happy about something

6 . every cloud has a silver lining used to say that there is something good even in a situation that seems very sad or difficult

7 . be/live in cloud-cuckoo-land British English to think that a situation is much better than it really is, in a way that is slightly stupid

⇨ have your head in the clouds at ↑ head 1 (24)

• • •



▪ a black/grey cloud

Black clouds usually mean rain.

▪ a dark cloud (=a black or grey cloud)

A dark cloud covered the sun.

▪ a white cloud

There was a bright blue sky with a few white clouds.

▪ heavy/thick cloud ( also dense cloud formal )

By midday, heavy clouds had spread across the sky.

▪ low/high cloud

The weather was overcast, with heavy low clouds.

▪ storm clouds

Dark storm clouds were moving in from the Atlantic.

▪ rain clouds

The sky had been full of rain clouds for days.

■ phrases

▪ a bank/mass of cloud (=a large block of cloud)

A heavy bank of cloud was creeping across the sky.

▪ a layer of cloud

The moon was shining through a thin layer of cloud.

▪ wisps of cloud (=long thin pieces)

The plane flew through occasional wisps of cloud.

▪ a band of cloud (=a long narrow area)

Long narrow bands of cloud stretched across the valley.

▪ a blanket of cloud (=a thick layer)

In the morning, a blanket of cloud still covered the country.

▪ a veil of cloud (=a thin layer)

A thin veil of cloud hid the moon.

■ verbs

▪ clouds gather/form

The sky had darkened and clouds had gathered.

▪ clouds cover something

For days thick cloud had covered the whole sky.

▪ clouds clear/lift (=disappear)

At last the rain had stopped and the clouds had cleared.

▪ clouds part (=move away from each other)

Suddenly the clouds that covered the moon parted.

▪ clouds move/roll

A narrow band of cloud has been moving across the country.

▪ clouds drift/float (=move slowly)

A few clouds drifted across the top of the mountains.

▪ clouds race/scud (=move quickly)

A wind was blowing and soft clouds were scudding across the sky.

▪ clouds hang

Heavy grey clouds hung low in the sky.

■ cloud + NOUN

▪ cloud cover

The cloud cover should disappear by the afternoon.

▪ cloud formation (=the shape in which cloud forms)

There are many different types of cloud formation.

• • •


▪ cloud noun [uncountable and countable] a white or grey mass in the sky that forms from very small drops of water:

The storm was still a way off but black clouds were gathering.


Thick cloud obscured the top of the hill.

▪ fog noun [uncountable and countable] very thick cloud near the ground which is difficult to see through:

The cars crashed into each other in thick fog.


The fog had lifted (=disappeared) slightly.

▪ mist noun [uncountable and countable] light cloud near the ground that makes it difficult for you to see very far. Mist is usually not as thick as fog . You often get mist near areas of water or mountains:

The morning mist was lifting and the sun was coming up.


A grey mist hung over the water.


The hills were shrouded in mist (=surrounded by mist) .

▪ haze noun [singular, uncountable] smoke, dust, or mist in the air which is difficult to see through:

He saw the horses coming towards him through a haze of dust.


The road shimmered in the heat haze.


A pale blue haze hung over the far-off mountains.

▪ smog noun [uncountable and countable] dirty air that looks like a mixture of smoke and fog, caused by smoke from cars and factories in cities:

The city is covered in smog for much of the year.


A smog warning was issued for parts of Southern Oregon.

▪ thundercloud noun [countable] a large dark cloud that you see before or during a storm:

He watched the thunderclouds roll across the valley.

▪ vapour trail British English , vapor trail American English noun [countable] the white line that is left in the sky by a plane:

High overhead, a jet left its vapour trail across the blue sky.

II. cloud 2 BrE AmE verb

1 . [transitive] to make someone less able to think clearly or make sensible decisions

cloud sb’s judgement/mind/vision etc

Don’t let your personal feelings cloud your judgement.

Fear had clouded his vision.

2 . ( also cloud over ) [intransitive and transitive] if someone’s face or eyes cloud, or if something clouds them, they start to look angry, sad, or worried:

Ann’s eyes clouded with the pain.

Then suspicion clouded his face.

3 . [transitive usually passive] to make something less pleasant or more difficult than it should have been:

Her happiness was clouded by having to leave her son behind.

4 . cloud the issue/picture etc to make a subject or problem more difficult to understand or deal with, especially by introducing unnecessary ideas:

Uninformed judgements only cloud the issue.

5 . ( also cloud up ) [intransitive and transitive] if glass or a liquid clouds, or if something clouds it, it becomes less clear and more difficult to see through:

windows clouded up with steam

The water clouded and I could no longer see the river bed.

6 . [transitive] to cover something with clouds:

Thick mist clouded the mountain tops.

cloud over phrasal verb

1 . ( also cloud up American English ) if the sky clouds over, it becomes dark and full of black clouds

2 . if someone’s face or eyes cloud over, they start to look angry or sad:

His face clouded over in disappointment.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.