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1650s, "a heap," from Latin cumulus "a heap, pile, mass, surplus," from PIE *ku-m-olo-, suffixed shortened form of root *keue- "to swell" (cf. Sanskrit svayati "swells up, is strong," Greek kyein "to swell," Lithuanian šaunas "firm, solid, fit, capable"). Meteorological use for "rounded mass of clouds" first attested 1803.
Plural cumuli (kym'yə-lī')
A dense, white, fluffy cloud with a flat base, a multiple rounded top, and a well-defined outline. The bases of cumulus clouds form primarily in altitudes below 2,000 m (6,560 ft), but their tops can reach much higher. Cumulus clouds are generally associated with fair weather but can also bring rain when they expand to higher levels. The clouds' edges are well-defined when they are composed of water droplets and fuzzy when made up of ice crystals. See illustration at cloud.