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Ancient word of the day: Cirrocumulus

Origin: 1650s. Cumulus ” a heap, pile, mass, surplus ” in Latin

*keue “to swell” in Latin.

Cirrocumulus are flocks of fleecy clouds that whisk past us on a glorious spring day. Often their appearance in the evening foretells of a stormy morning the following day. At least thats old shepherd’s wisdom.

German

Schäfchenwolken: Little sheep clouds.

Ancient word of the day: Schäfchenwolken

Cirrocumulus are also known as hair curl heaps. These smaller and fluffier clouds we get during fairweather are literally humble heaps.

Flower Clouds by Odilon Redon
Flower Clouds by Odilon Redon

Mackarel Sky

English slang word for a sky smattered with cirrocumulus or Schäfchenwolken clouds. Popular because of a similarity to the lined skin of a mackarel. Collins Dictionary

“.. if the clouds be disparkled many together, of the east, flying like fleeces of wool: rain for three days after.” Presages by the clouds in Arthur Hopton’s A Concordancy of Yeares (1612)

“.. if the clouds be disparkled many together, of the east, flying like fleeces of wool: rain for three days after.” Presages by the clouds in Arthur Hopton’s A Concordancy of Yeares (1612)
“.. if the clouds be disparkled many together, of the east, flying like fleeces of wool: rain for three days after.” Presages by the clouds in Arthur Hopton’s A Concordancy of Yeares (1612)
Ancient word of the day: Schäfchenwolken

Italian

Cielo a pecorelle, pioggia a catinelle
Little sheeps shaped sky, rain will fall in basins

Spanish

Ovejitas al atardecer, lluvias al amanecer
Little sheep at sunset, rains at dawn

French

Nuages en forme de fleurs de coton
Clouds shaped like cotton flowers

“Balloon-Prospect”, featured in Thomas Baldwin’s Airopaidia (1786) — Public Domain Review
“Balloon-Prospect”, featured in Thomas Baldwin’s Airopaidia (1786) — Public Domain Review
11 Archaic Words That Deserve A Full Revival
Lighthouse in the clouds

Anonymous

Clouds that wander through the sky,
Sometimes low and sometimes high;
In the darkness of the night,
In the sunshine warm and bright.
Ah! I wonder much if you
Have any useful work to do.

Hawkins - Sea Clouds
Hawkins – Sea Clouds

John Brainard

Ye clouds, who are the ornament of heaven,
Who give to it its gayest shadowings,
And its most awful glories; ye who roll
In the dark tempest, or at dewy evening
Hang low in tenderest beauty; ye who, ever
Changing your Protean aspects, now are gather’d,
Like fleecy piles, when the mid sun is brightest,
Even in the height of heaven, and there repose

Ancient word of the day: Schäfchenwolken

John B Tabb

Do you remember, little cloud,
This morning when you lay—
A mist along the river—what
The waters had to say?

Have you ever visited the Cloud Appreciation Society?

Well if you haven’t yet, then you should. They are true to their namesake and appreciate clouds on a global scale. Have a look at their gallery for inspiration on the sheer diversity and beauty of these divine, shapeshifting celestial wonders.
In case you’re wondering, it costs around $30 a month to become a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society. As a lover of clouds myself, I am somewhat coming around to the idea.

2 thoughts on “Ancient word of the day: Cirrocumulus

  1. Which song Jeremy? I can only think of one reference to clouds… ‘Four Seasons in One Day’: “The sun shines on the black clouds hanging over the domain”

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