Difference Wiki

Foggy vs. Cloudy: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 6, 2023
Foggy conditions involve low-lying clouds touching the ground, reducing visibility, while cloudy describes an overcast sky due to clouds not at ground level.

Key Differences

Foggy refers to a weather condition where visibility is reduced due to a cloud of tiny water droplets suspended at or near the Earth's surface. It often results in a misty, gray appearance and can make travel or navigation difficult. Foggy conditions occur when the air near the ground cools and causes the moisture in the air to condense into tiny droplets.
Cloudy, on the other hand, pertains to the sky covered by clouds. These clouds are not necessarily at ground level and do not significantly affect visibility like fog. A cloudy day can range from few clouds (partly cloudy) to a sky completely covered by clouds (overcast), often diffusing the sunlight without causing the severe visibility issues associated with fog.
While both foggy and cloudy conditions involve clouds, the primary difference lies in their altitude and impact on visibility. Fog is a ground-level phenomenon and can envelop landscapes and objects, making them appear blurry or obscured. Cloudiness is evaluated by the extent of the sky covered by clouds and does not necessarily imply any impairment in visibility at ground level.
A foggy atmosphere often implies a sense of closeness and dampness, affecting people and their activities directly at the surface level. Cloudy skies can affect mood and light but usually do not have the immediate impact on ground-level activities that fog does, unless it leads to precipitation.
Both foggy and cloudy are terms used in meteorology but have different implications for weather forecasts and conditions. Foggy weather suggests caution, particularly for drivers and pilots, due to low visibility, while cloudy conditions are more indicative of the sky's appearance and potential for rain.

Comparison Chart


Presence of condensed water droplets at ground level.
Overcast sky due to clouds above ground level.

Visibility Impact

Reduces visibility significantly.
Generally does not reduce ground-level visibility.


At or near the ground.
Higher altitude, in the sky.

Weather Prediction

May indicate stable weather conditions.
Often precedes precipitation.

Metaphorical Use

Implies confusion or lack of clarity.
Can imply gloominess or uncertainty.

Foggy and Cloudy Definitions


Not clear or lacking clarity.
After the surgery, his memory was foggy.


Lacking definite form or limits; vague.
The directions she gave were cloudy and confusing.


Obscured by fog.
The streetlights looked eerie in the foggy night.


Full of or covered with clouds.
The sky was cloudy, but it didn't rain.


Covered with or as if with fog.
My glasses became foggy as I entered the warm building from the cold outside.


Not transparent or clear.
The water from the tap was cloudy and undrinkable.


Causing bewilderment or lack of mental clarity.
He had a foggy understanding of the complex physics theory.


Marked by gloom.
His mood was as cloudy as the weather.


Full of or resembling fog.
The valley was foggy this morning, making the drive tricky.


Causing doubt, uncertainty, or obscurity.
The company's future is cloudy due to the market conditions.


Full of or surrounded by fog.


Full of or covered with clouds; overcast.


Resembling or suggestive of fog.


Of or like a cloud or clouds.


Clouded or blurred by or as if by fog; vague
Had only a foggy memory of what happened.
Hasn't the foggiest idea how to get home.


Marked with indistinct masses or streaks
Cloudy marble.


Can it be foggy and cloudy at the same time?

Yes, it's possible to have fog with an overcast sky.

Does foggy weather mean it will rain?

Not necessarily; fog does not directly indicate impending rain.

What does cloudy mean?

It refers to the sky being covered to a large extent by clouds.

Can foggy conditions occur indoors?

Yes, in large indoor spaces like arenas, mist or artificial fog can reduce visibility.

Are cloudy skies indicative of bad weather?

Not always; clouds can be present without any severe weather conditions.

What time of day is foggy weather most common?

Early morning and late evening are the most common times for fog.

How does foggy weather affect air travel?

It can cause delays and cancellations due to low visibility for takeoff and landing.

What does foggy mean?

It means there's low visibility due to a dense concentration of water droplets close to the ground.

Is cloudy weather more common in certain seasons?

Yes, it can be more common in the transitional seasons of spring and fall.

Does cloudy weather affect temperature?

Yes, it can either insulate the earth, keeping temperatures higher at night, or block the sun, causing cooler days.

Can cloudy weather be beneficial?

Yes, it can be beneficial for agriculture by diffusing sunlight and reducing evaporation.

Does cloudy weather imply it will be cooler?

Yes, during the day, clouds can block sunlight and lead to cooler temperatures.

What is the main safety tip for driving in foggy conditions?

Use fog lights if available and drive at reduced speeds.

Can cloudy skies clear up quickly?

Yes, if wind patterns change or if the clouds do not signify a lasting weather front.

Is foggy weather a concern for maritime navigation?

Absolutely, fog poses significant challenges for ships at sea.

Is driving in foggy conditions more dangerous than driving on a cloudy day?

Yes, because foggy conditions substantially reduce visibility.

What types of clouds are associated with cloudy weather?

Stratus, cumulus, and nimbostratus clouds are often involved in cloudy skies.

Do certain climates have more cloudy days?

Yes, maritime and mountainous climates often experience more cloudy days.

How can foggy conditions be accurately predicted?

Through weather models that evaluate humidity, temperature, and regional conditions.

How do meteorologists measure foggy conditions?

They use visibility sensors and fog gauges to measure the density and extent of fog.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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