What does it mean for something to be a ‘floating cloud’?
An internet slang that has enjoyed a relatively long life for a buzzword is 浮云 fúyún, with its literal translation “floating clouds”. Fúyún’s extended meaning is similar to a mirage; transient and insubstantial.
The word is most often used in the phrase:
Shén mǎ dōu shì fú yún
Everything is nothing/floating clouds.
神马, which literally translates to “divine horse”, is the internet slang version of 什么 (shénme, what). This sentence could be used to express “nothing means anything,” “everything is trivial,” “nothing worth to be mentioned,” and “nothing matters.”
Fuyun first appeared in Analects《论语》, where Confucius said “不义富且贵，于我如浮云” (bú yì fù qiě guì, yú wǒ rú fúyún, Wealth and position obtained by unrighteous means are to me floating clouds).