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I've been looking at various forums with people proposing suggestions, but is there a consensus on what the collective noun is for "clouds"?

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That's the sort of question that invites fanciful answers! A vagueness of clouds, perhaps? An accumulation of clouds? –  Barrie England Oct 5 '11 at 7:34
    
Well you do get a cloud of seafowls, starlings and bats (users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/collnoun.htm), but I can't find a collective noun for clouds themselves. –  Urbycoz Oct 5 '11 at 7:43
    
Here are a few suggestions- some sensible, some less so. all-sorts.org/nouns/clouds –  Urbycoz Oct 5 '11 at 7:45
    
@Urbycoz - Saw that list. A "sky" of clouds I don't think works. It's like saying a "sea" of fish. And I find it hard to imagine a "storm" of small fluffy clouds for instance. –  death_au Oct 5 '11 at 7:52
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In collective nouns, there are some that are of practical use, such as squadron, platoon, company, etc. - but these also carry other connotations than being a general number or even a specific number - which makes them useful in that field. If you want to describe properties of the clouds to add connotations, you might use a wisp, whirl or blanket of clouds. –  Henrik Erlandsson Aug 3 '12 at 11:32

6 Answers 6

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I don't know if there's some technical term used by meteorologists, but I think I'd instinctively say a "group" of clouds unless something more poetic was called for.

Remember it is OK to use plain, easily understood words when the fancy ones don't buy you anything. This reminds me of the pointless list of rarely used collective nouns for animals that some people think it's vitally important to their well-being to memorise.

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Finally! Yes, "contrived" is the word - unless you're writing poetry. (And perhaps even then.) –  Henrik Erlandsson Aug 3 '12 at 11:29

I'd say it depends what kind of clouds they are (wispy, thick, black etc.) and what they are doing (moving slowly/quickly, thinning, thickening etc.). One possible collective term is a "scud" of clouds - meaning fast-moving, loose, vapoury clouds. I'm sure many more exist - I will edit if I think of them.

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There's no consensus, but The Collective Nouns Page gives us a souffle of clouds.

All Sorts has:

  • a pageant of clouds
  • a sky of clouds
  • a storm of clouds
  • a fuck of clouds
  • a cumulonimbus of clouds
  • a menagerie of clouds
  • a cling of clouds

Answers.com suggests a scurry, a soufle and a sea of clouds.

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A menagerie of clouds is what I've always called them. –  user43830 May 7 '13 at 3:03
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You mention "a fuck of clouds". This seems strange to me. Could you be thinking of "a fuck load of clouds" instead? –  Shawn Nov 11 '13 at 19:45

A collective noun for "clouds" would consist of one word or perhaps a compound word as "the cloud-cover" or "the cloud-covering" - don't know whether these words are in the dictionary. I don't think that there is a collective word for clouds. You could invent a word, perhaps "the clouding". - But, why are you interested in a collective word for clouds? In German we have collective words of the form Gebälk (all the beams under the roof), there are a lot of these word-formations, and you could find "Gewölk" (all the clouds), perhaps in poetry. But up to now I could do without "Gewölk". Do you see a need for a collective noun meaning "all the clouds"?

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A billow of clouds (from billowing) seems quite apt.

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Welcome to EL&U. Can you provide a citation or example of billow being used as a collective noun for clouds? I would also encourage you to take the site tour and peruse the help center for guidance on how to participate effectively. –  choster Jun 2 at 3:24

Obviously, a "huddle" of clouds.

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In a sense, "what seems obvious to you" amounts to a comment, not an answer. Try to find something in support of your preference and cite that. The more substantiated & convincing your answer, the more up votes it will earn. –  FumbleFingers Jan 30 at 4:55

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