EtymologyThe word comes from the play The Birds by the Greek playwright Aristophanes.
Most of us, at one time or another, have looked up to the clouds and imagined that we saw shapes that resembled things with which we were familiar. Perhaps it was an animal, like the above activity. Or, it might have been a person's face, a letter of the alphabet, or something else. You were doing nephelococcygia. The phonetic pronunciation for the word (with a "thank you" to Irene Holtz) is