What does [雲行]{くもゆ}き mean? I looked this up on Google Translate, and it means "turn of affairs" which makes no sense to me. I looked this up on Google Images, and there are pictures of storm clouds.

My guess is that 雲行{くもゆ}き means storm clouds, but I'm not entirely sure.

3 Answers 3


雲行き means:
① the direction of the clouds' move, and
② the prospect of the development of an event.

"雲行き" is most often used in the way as 雲行きが[怪]{あや}しい (or [険]{けわ}しい), meaning the thing (situation) looks (somewhat) precarious, for example:

The relationship between them (he and his wife) doesn’t seem to be going well.
The prospect of concluding the TPP Agreement is thinning away.

  • Trans-Pacific Partnership
    – nodakai
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 18:30
  • 四字熟語の「[行雲流水]{こう・うん・りゅう・すい}」と関係ある?
    – istrasci
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 19:49
  • @nodakai. Yes. It was a typo of TPP. I corrected spelling. Thank you for pointing out. Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 21:22
  • 1
    @istrasci. According to 大辞林, “行雲流水” means to behave naturally like a carefree cloud flying in the sky and water running freely in the stream without sticking to anything. “行雲” means “a passing cloud (in the sky)” with an emphasis on the cloud. So I think it’s a bit different from “雲行き” which means the direction or movement of a cloud with emphasis on the direction. Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 21:50
  • @Chocolate. Thanks for your editing to make the lines more readable and corrections of my "habbitual" typos. But please hold back from making unnecessary changes. For an example, "move" of a cloud can stay as it is. I understand you know well that 'move' can e used as a noun. To me the word, "movement" sounds too heavy to describe 雲行き. Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 22:26

As I could find out, 雲行き has two meanings:

  1. Cloud drift, cloud movement

It can be clear from the very kanjis. Not necessarily storm clouds, but it's also possible.

And Google translate was right:

  1. Turn of affairs / current situation

Again, judging by kanjis, it seems to me that in this case "how things are going" has the close meaning.


雲行き literally means the way clouds [行]{ゆ}く

道行き is an archaic word for itinerary.

東京行き means bound for Tokyo. Similarly, 地獄行き is bound for Hell. Their [行]{ゆ}き parts are often pronounced as [行]{い}き in modern Japanese.

Hope you get some ideas on how 行き, a noun form of a verb [行]{ゆ}く "go," can be used in Japanese.

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