Etymology
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ground zero (n.)
1946, originally with reference to atomic blasts. In reference to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on New York, it was in use by Sept. 13.
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absolute zero (n.)
"lowest possible temperature which the nature of heat admits" (determined to be –273 centigrade, –458 Fahrenheit), the idea dates back to 1702 and its general value was guessed to within a few degrees soon thereafter, but not precisely discovered until Lord Kelvin's work in 1848. It was known by many names, such as infinite cold, absolute cold, natural zero of temperature; the term absolute zero was among them by 1806.
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cloud nine (n.)
by 1950, sometimes also cloud seven (1956, perhaps by confusion with seventh heaven), American English, of uncertain origin or significance. Some connect the phrase with the 1895 International Cloud-Atlas (Hildebrandsson, Riggenbach and Teisserenc de Bort), long the basic source for cloud shapes, in which, of the ten cloud types, cloud No. 9, cumulonimbus, was the biggest, puffiest, most comfortable-looking. Shipley suggests the sense in this and other expressions might be because, "As the largest one-figure integer, nine is sometimes used for emphasis." The phrase might appear in the 1935 aviation-based play "Ceiling Zero" by Frank Wilbur Wead.
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