from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Built of, or in, the clouds; unsubstantial or imaginary.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Built of, or in, the clouds; airy; unsubstantial; imaginary.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Built up of clouds.
  • Fanciful; imaginary; chimerical; fantastic: applied to day-dreams or castles in the air.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Down a delectable street of cloud-built palaces I was mentally pacing, when I happened upon the Artist.

    The Golden Age

  • A faith which is not solidly established in reason, which does not continue and complete in its own regions what we know and understand, is a cloud-built faith, but a faith, on the other hand, which refuses to adventure beyond the limits of the senses is a faith too largely empty of any noble content.

    Modern Religious Cults and Movements

  • Meanwhile, through all nature's changes, through calm and tempest, rain and snow, through dull refusing winter, and the first passing visits of open-handed spring, the hearts of men were awaiting the outburst of the thunder, the blue peaks of whose cloud-built cells had long been visible on the horizon of the future.

    St. George and St. Michael

  • Scandinavian Sea Kings of the middle centuries, whose gods were patrons of rapine and cruelty, their heaven a vast, cloud-built ale-house, where ghostly warriors drank from the skulls of their victims, and whose hell was a frozen horror of desolation and darkness, to be avoided only by diligence in robbery and courage in murder.

    The Complete Works of Whittier

  • The same evening he took Alice with him for a ramble round the castle wall, while they talked of grave matters, and he as usual allowed her a dim and doubtful view of some of those cloud-built castles in which he habitually dwelt, and among which his jaded hopes revived.

    J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 2


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  • Clouds in your coffee? You're so vain.

    May 16, 2012

  • At least my coffee's not cloud-built.

    May 16, 2012

  • And then there's Judy Collins' folk hit, Both Sides Now, which begins:

    Bows and flows of angel hair
    and ice cream castles in the air
    And feather canyons everywhere
    I've looked at clouds that way
    But now they only block the sun they rain
    and snow on everyone
    So many things I would have done
    but clouds got in my way...

    Hear it at

    May 15, 2012

  • I always forget that Cloud Cuckoo Land is in The Birds instead of The Clouds.

    May 15, 2012

  • Interesting, mtc. Baratynsky's "wondrous city" has a very different connotation than "Cloud Cuckoo Land", but the latter certainly belongs on my states-of-mind-from-absurdistan-to-zion list.

    Ruzuzu, Baratynsky and I go way back. I was introduced to him by Pushkin and Nabokov, with an added endorsement from Brodsky.

    May 15, 2012

  • Rolig, your poem may have been inspired by Cloud Cuckoo Land in Aristophanes' play, The Birds. See

    May 15, 2012

  • That's lovely, rolig. How did you decide on Baratynsky?

    May 15, 2012

  • I love the Century Dictionary.

    Btw, in my real life I am translating the poems of the Russian poet Yevgeny Baratynsky. Here is one that seems appropriate:

    Now and then a wondrous city
    from floating clouds will coalesce,
    but the wind need only touch it,
    and it’s gone without a trace.
    Thus the momentary inventions
    of poetic fantasy
    vanish at the merest breath of
    meaningless activity.


    Translated by Rawley Grau

    May 15, 2012

  • That second definition is certainly poetry:

    A Haiku by the GNU Webster's 1913

    Built of, or in, the
    clouds; airy; unsubstantial;

    May 15, 2012

  • I love that word! It's a poem all by itself.

    May 15, 2012