Many people in the recent past have asked me why do we use Cloud No. 9 to indicate happiness.
Well … I guess Herez the answer…
The popular etymology references the 1896 edition of the International Cloud Atlas which defined ten types of cloud. The ninth cloud was the cumulo-nimbus rising to a height of 10 km, which is the highest a cloud can be. There is, however, no good evidence for this.
The 1960 print of the Dictionary of American Slang (Wentworth & Flexner) includes “cloud seven”, the usage of which seems to predate “cloud nine” by a few years. Other etymolgies reference Buddhist or Christian lore, and even Dante’s Divine Comedy, but again there are no reasons to prefer these versions.
What the dictonary says:
He was on cloud nine for days after she agreed to marry him.
- Bryan Adams, Could #9
- Cloud Nine (Temptations album), the 1969 album that contains the above song
- Cloud Nine (George Harrison album), a 1987 album by George Harrison