from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An extended cloud formation of bluish or gray sheets or layers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. . A principal medium-level cloud type in the form of a gray or bluish (never white) sheet or layer of striated, fibrous, or uniform appearance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A cloud formation similar to cirro-stratus, but heavier and at a lower level; a stratus cloud at an intermediate altitude of 2 or 3 miles.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A thin horizontal sheet of clouds, usually disappearing slowly: apparently a lower layer of what under favorable circumstances might have been a cumulus cloud. The outer surface, melting away at sunset, gives rise to beautiful sunset cloud-colors by reflection of light from the sun or the sky beyond the western horizon.
  • n. A rather high cloud covering the sky as a layer whose lower surface is horizontal. The extreme boundaries of such an alto-stratus cloud thin away into a series of alto-cumuli.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a stratus cloud at an intermediate altitude of 2 or 3 miles


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin altus, high; see al-2 in Indo-European roots + stratus.


  • Above 6,500 feet can be found altocumulus ("clumps or rolls") and altostratus (a "drab and featureless" haze), as well as the storm clouds nimbostratus ("dim, miserable") and cumulonimbus ("the shape of a blacksmith's anvil").

    Cirrus Concerns

  • On this day, however, the sky, layered with thin altostratus clouds and smog, appeared to reflect human suffering and failed to awaken in Claude visions of paradise.

    La insistencia de Jürgen Fauth

  • Weather Phenomenon Prior to the Passing of the Front Contact with the Front After the Passing of the Front Temperature Cool Warming suddenly Warmer then leveling off Atmospheric Pressure Decreasing steadily Leveling off Slight rise followed by a decrease Winds South to southeast Variable South to southwest Precipitation Showers, snow, sleet or drizzle Light drizzle None Clouds Cirrus, cirrostratus, altostratus, nimbostratus, and then stratus Stratus, sometimes cumulonimbus Clearing with scattered stratus, sometimes scattered cumulonimbus

    Air masses and frontal transitional zones

  • High-altitude cirrus, cirrostratus and middle-altitude altostratus clouds are found well in advance of the front.

    Air masses and frontal transitional zones

  • Along the gently sloping warm front, the lifting of moist air produces first nimbostratus clouds followed by altostratus and cirrostratus.

    Mid-latitude cyclone

  • It was a good blue one, with a few puffy cirrocumulus clouds, and some altostratus thrown in for contrast.

    Something Unpredictable

  • With the thicker altostratus and nimbostratus clouds comes the rain, which is then followed by clear and warmer weather.

    Sailing Fundamentals

  • There was only one cloud to be seen, but it covered the entire soggy Irish sky, dropping rain all day - a "drizzling altostratus", since you ask. - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • According to meteorologists, there will be a layer of scattered stratocumulus clouds between 2,500 feet and 5,000 feet, scattered altostratus clouds between 10,000 feet and 12,000 feet, and scattered cirrus clouds between 28,000 feet and 34,000 feet.

  • We would call out, cirrus, cumulus, stratus, altostratus and cumulonimbus from the back seat.

    ABC 4: Top Stories


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