stra·​to·​cu·​mu·​lus | \ ˌstrā-tō-ˈkyü-myə-ləs How to pronounce stratocumulus (audio) , ˌstra-\

Definition of stratocumulus

: stratified low cumulus consisting of large balls or rolls of dark cloud which often cover the whole sky especially in winter — see cloud illustration

Keep scrolling for more

What Does a stratocumulus Cloud Look Like?

When a cloud type forms a broad "layer" over the earth, the strat- root shows up in its scientific name. The type called simply stratus forms a low layer of gray extending over a large area. Cirrostratus ("curl layer") clouds form a high, thin layer often covering the entire sky (but without the wispy curls of ice crystals that give pure cirrus clouds their name). Altostratus ("high layer") clouds form a darkish gray mid-altitude layer. Nimbostratus ("rainstorm layer") clouds form a low, dark layer of gray cloud that usually produces light but continuous rain, snow, or sleet (but not violent storms of the kind that give pure nimbus clouds their name). Cumulus ("heap") is the familiar puffy fair-weather type of cloud; stratocumulus is its more wintry version, which spreads out in a fairly flat layer, much less "heaped up", and sometimes dense enough to cover almost the whole sky.

Examples of stratocumulus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Clouds come in all shapes and sizes: wispy, high cirrus, puffy cumulus, the low, gray stratocumulus layers that blanket gloomy days. Kate Marvel, Scientific American, "Will Changing Cloud Cover Accelerate Global Warming?," 8 Dec. 2017 Within the lenticular category itself, there are several types: Altocumulus standing lenticular, stratocumulus standing lenticular and cirrocumulus standing lenticular. Kathryn Prociv, Washington Post, "Pic of the week: Flying-saucer cloud ‘lands’ on Mount Hood," 16 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stratocumulus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of stratocumulus

1845, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stratocumulus

New Latin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stratocumulus

Statistics for stratocumulus

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stratocumulus

The first known use of stratocumulus was in 1845

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on stratocumulus Encyclopedia article about stratocumulus

Comments on stratocumulus

What made you want to look up stratocumulus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!