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? Oct 5, 2011 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, 2011 at 7:43
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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. Aug 3, 2012 at 11:32
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    Fanciful answer: I always liked "a flock of clouds" because clouds fly like a flock of birds, and look like a flock of sheep.
    – Pitarou
    Jan 30, 2014 at 7:51
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    I quite like "flock of clouds." It's whimsical but it gets the job done. Alternatively a "squadron" of clouds could indicate an offensive storm front swooping aggressively (militaristic tones).
    – Preston
    Jun 2, 2014 at 5:29

7 Answers 7


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.) Aug 3, 2012 at 11:29
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    Bad news when the top-voted answer is "I don't know... but I think I'd instinctively say"
    – equin0x80
    Mar 29 at 5:41

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.


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.

  • A menagerie of clouds is what I've always called them.
    – user43830
    May 7, 2013 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, 2013 at 19:45
  • @Shawn has a good point. That one also jumped out at me.
    – A E
    Dec 4, 2014 at 9:59
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    Sorry, I downvoted because "souffle of clouds,""pageant of clouds," "fuck of clouds," "cumulonimbus of clouds" all sound ridiculous to me. And as far as I can tell, the sources don't convincingly indicate that any significant number of people use these phrases.
    – herisson
    Mar 3, 2016 at 21:15
  • @sumelic: First three words: There's no consensus.
    – Hugo
    Mar 4, 2016 at 8:43

It's usually bank. The OED (Oxford English Dictionary) includes a sub-entry for cloud-bank, citing one J. Hodgson (1858): "A cloud-bank that seemed to rest on the sea."

  • There are many examples of the actual phrase 'bank of clouds' on the internet, and including a couple that look 'respectable' (correct surrounding grammar etc) will improve your answer, equin0x80. // This may point towards a related question: When do phrases such as 'pride of lions', 'display of flowers', 'team of dedicated workers', 'field of wheat', 'box of chocolates', 'house of cards', 'hill of beans' ... contain true collective nouns? Mar 29 at 10:54
  • Spelling my user name correctly would improve yours. How about trying to teach people things (why they came here) rather than being the first to jump on them. This is specifically why I don't drop a lot of citations -- I could do it, but by that time, someone else would have claimed the points. Cancer. I just try to say a few short words that will genuinely help a confused person.
    – equin0x80
    Apr 20 at 6:30
  • Apologies, equin0x80 (an unusual name). But I'm only repeating ELU policy, that answers without reasonable references (and is 'bank' a true collective noun? 'Wealth' in the fixed phrase 'wealth of opportunities'?) are considered less than optimal on ELU. You've had plenty of time to amend your answer since staking your claim (if others beat me to an 'answer', if it's correct and helpful. fine). But remember that ELU is aimed at a far wider audience than the enquirer ('not essentially a Q & A site'); questions are a springboard for discussion. Apr 20 at 12:22

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"?


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, 2014 at 3:24
  • Why is this answer down-voted? When googled, one does come across one or two references on the usage "billow". However, it seems difficult, as is with the other choices, to find more solid references to the proper collective noun. But billow does seem like a very good poetic term.
    – aashima
    May 23, 2020 at 12:22
  • M-W actually has an example, and I'd upvote this very reasonable answer were this included. Mar 29 at 10:38

A cuddle of clouds.. This sounds nice (don't like the word nice)

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    Welcome to EL&U. It does sound nice, but I think the OP wanted something 'official'. Can you provide a citation or example of cuddle being used as a collective noun for clouds? Please take the site tour and visit the help center for guidance on how to use this site. Dec 4, 2014 at 11:55

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