One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An iridescent cloud; (specifically in Meteorology) one of a kind occasionally seen in winter in high latitudes, showing bright colours after sunset, and forming in the stratosphere at a height of 12–18 miles (20–30 kilometres); also called mother-of-pearl cloud.
Early 20th century. From nacreous + cloud.
nacreous cloud/ˈneɪkrɪəs ˌklaʊd/
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