What Does Cloud Cuckoo Land Mean?

Cloud Cuckoo Land Meaning                        

Definition: A fanciful imaginary idea.

Origin of Cloud Cuckoo Land

This expression, in its English form, originated in the 1800s. It comes from a translation of the Greek word Nephelokokkȳgía.

This is the name of the land that separates humans and gods in the Greek play The Birds by Aristophanes. It dates back to around the year 400 B.C.

Examples of Cloud Cuckoo Land

cloud cuckoo land lego nephelococcygiaHere is an example that involves two college students discussing whether or not to go to a party.

Robin: Hey, look at that girl over there. She’s so beautiful. Do you think she’d talk to me?

Harry: I don’t know. She’s probably the most popular and beautiful girl in the whole university.

Robin: I think I’m going to try to talk to her. Maybe she’ll fall in love with me, and we can live happily ever after.

Harry: Hmmm. Okay. Do what you want, but I think you’re living in cloud cuckoo land.

Robin: Why do you say that?

Harry: Because you’re not that attractive, and your personality isn’t that great, either!

Robin: Hey! Rude!

Harry: Sorry, I’m just being honest.

lego movie cloud cuckoo landIn this dialogue, two coworkers are arguing over the best way to deliver some bad news to their boss.

Mal: I can’t believe we knocked over our boss’s laptop.

Xiomara: I know, this is a huge mess. What do you think we should do?

Mal: I think we should just walk away. There’s no way she’ll know it was us.

Xiomara: I’m a terrible liar. If she asks me about it, I’m sure she’ll figure it out. We need a different plan.

Mal: What do you suggest?

Xiomara: I think we should just tell her the truth: that it was an accident.

Mal: I think you’re living in cloud cuckoo land. That will never work.

More Examples

This excerpt is about one singer who is accusing another singer of doing a lot of drugs. She thinks that anyone who disagrees is ignoring the truth in favor of a fantasy.

  • “Two words for the DEA investigating where Prince got his drugs over the decades: Arsenio Hall … Anyone imagining Prince was not a long time hard drug user is living in cloud cuckoo land,” O’Connor said in the post. –USA Today

This excerpt is from a review of a show, which reveals the wilder side of classical symphony musicians.

  • As I mentioned in a review last month, it seizes on the sex-and-drugs part of the equation and goes off into some cloud-cuckoo-land fantasy of what the field might look like that has almost nothing to do with reality. –Washington Post


The phrase cloud cuckoo land means an idealized version of reality that isn’t true.