Remember how you felt when you passed an important exam? What about when you got a promotion? If you talk to an American, he or she might ask if you were “on cloud nine.” Americans often use the expression to say they’re extremely happy.

Below are five more idiomatic phrases that take their inspiration from the skies:

Clear the air

(State Dept./Doug Thompson)

What it means: To resolve hidden resentment; to remove the bad feelings between people.
In conversation: “My friend has been ignoring my texts for days. She must be mad at me, but I don’t know why. I want to clear the air, so I hope she will meet me to talk!”

The sky’s the limit

What it means: There is no limit.
In conversation: “You just graduated at the top of your class. You can do anything if you put your mind to it. The sky’s the limit!”

Up in the air

(State Dept./Doug Thompson)

What it means: Uncertain and with an unknown result; undecided.
In conversation: “My vacation next week is still up in the air. My company is working on a big project, so I might have to work next week.”

Breath of fresh air

What it means: Someone or something that makes a situation feel better, exciting, enjoyable, etc.
In conversation: “Our teacher last year was mean and boring. Our teacher this year is interesting and excited to teach us. She is a breath of fresh air.”

(To have) one’s head in the clouds

(State Dept./Doug Thompson)

What it means: To spend too much time thinking about ideas that are not practical or are irrelevant to one’s surroundings.
In conversation: “For the past week, Bill has been walking around with his head in the clouds. He even forgot our meeting this morning. Maybe he has fallen in love.”

Learn more

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