1970 July 16, W. E. Cushen, БThe Management of ChangeБ, in Frances C. Bell and Harold F. Wollin, editors,
Report of the 55th National Conference on Weights and Measures 1970: Sponsored by the National Bureau of Standards; Attended by Officials from the Various States, Counties, and Cities, and Representatives from U. S. Government, Industry, and Consumer Organizations, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 13Б17, 1970 (NBS Special Publication; 342), Washington, D. C. :, published April 1971, Now, the system approach, needless to say, wants to help out in that particular problem, but it lives up on cloud nine for the most part. This is one of the reasons that it has not made more headway than it has in the civilian agencies of government. I was on cloud nine after winning the marathon. * 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 evidence for this. * The 1960 print of the Dictionary of American Slang (Wentworth Flexner) includes Бcloud sevenБ, the usage of which seems to predate Бcloud nineБ by a few years. Other etymologies reference Buddhist or Christian lore, and even DanteБs Divine Comedy, but again there are no reasons to prefer these versions. 1. (idiomatic) a state of happiness, elation or bliss; often used in the phrase on cloud nine. He was on cloud nine for days after she agreed to marry him.
Blissfully happy, as in Ever since he proposed to her, her parents have been on cloud nine. The exact allusion of nine in this term is unclear, and different figures, especially seven (perhaps alluding to seventh heaven), are sometimes substituted. [Colloquial; mid-1900s] Twenty-three skidoo appeared around the end of the 19th century, while Catch 22 was invented by author Joseph Heller in his 1961 novel of the same name. Cloud nine seems to have first appeared around 1935, though it didn t become widespread until the 1950 s. Exactly how on cloud nine came to be synonymous with euphoria or perfect contentment is a bit of a mystery. According to my parents Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, the phrase is based on U. S. Weather Service terminology.
This theory holds that cloud types are numbered, and that cloud nine is the designation given to cumulonimbus clouds, the highest-flying clouds around, making them an apt metaphor for being on top of the world. It s a nice story, and I usually defer to my parents wisdom, but I don t believe this one. Part of the problem is that when the phrase first appeared, it wasn t cloud nine — more often, folks said they were on cloud seven, or even cloud thirty-nine. Another glitch in the cumulonimbus (love that word) theory is that cloud nine gained currency as a popular idiom among jazz musicians and the Beat Generation, groups not ordinarily noted for their embrace of meteorological terminology. http://www. word-detective. com/030698. html#cloudnine