Et cetera

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The &c (et ceterarum, "Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland and another") shows that Oliver Cromwell did not renounce the English claims on France

Et cetera (in English; /ɛtˈsɛtərə/; Latin pronunciation: [ɛt ˈkeːtɛra]), abbreviated to etc., etc, &c., or &c,[1][2] is a Latin expression that is used in English to mean "and other similar things", or "and so forth". Et means 'and'; cētera means 'the rest'. In Latin, the expression means "and the rest (of such things)". It is a calque of the Greek καὶ τὰ ἕτερα kai ta hetera, 'and the other things'. (The more usual Greek form is και τα λοιπά καὶ τὰ loipa, 'and the remainder'.)

Spellings and usage[edit]

The one-word spelling "etcetera" is commonly used and appears in some dictionaries.[3] It is also sometimes spelled et caetera, et coetera, et cœtera, or etceteros.[citation needed] Some abbreviations that are still used in the United Kingdom, Australia, and India[dubious ] are considered archaic in the United States and commonly used only in legislation, notations for mathematics, or qualifications; these include &ca, etca, &/c., &e., &ct., &cm, etcm, &cs, and etcs. (The ampersand derives from a ligature of et. This is occasionally formed by knowing et to mean and but not realising & is equivalent to et.)

The phrase et cetera is often used to denote the logical continuation of some sort of series of descriptions. For example, in the following expression:

We will need a lot of bread: wheat, granary, wholemeal, etc.
etc. in Fraktur

In blackletter (Gothic or Fraktur) typography, the "r rotunda" (ꝛ) is sometimes used for et in place of the similar-looking Tironian et (⁊), followed by c, to yield ꝛc.

Similar Latin expressions[edit]

  • In lists of people, et alii (abbreviated as et al., meaning "and others") is used in place of etc.
  • In lists of places, et alibi may be used, which is also abbreviated et al. et alibi means "and elsewhere".
  • In references to literature or texts in general, et sequentes (versus) or et sequentia 'and the words etc. following' (abbreviated et seq., plural et seqq.) are used to indicate that only the first portion of a known reference is given explicitly, with broad reference to the following passages which logically follow in sequence to the explicit reference. Hence "Title VII, Section 4, Subsection A, Paragraph 1, et seq." might refer to many subsections or paragraphs which follow Paragraph 1. Legal briefs and legislative documents make heavy use of et seq. Notice that there is a functional difference between et seq. and etc. Et seq. and its variations refer specifically to known text; etc. may do so too, but is more likely to leave the reader to supply the unspecified items for himself. It would not be helpful to say: "Various paragraphs of import similar to those in Title VII, Sections 4, 7, and 2 et seq." though it might make sense to use etc. in such a context.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 1956 film The King and I, Yul Brynner repeatedly used the expression " cetera, et cetera, et cetera..." in his portrayal of King Mongkut of Siam, to characterize the king as wanting to impress everyone with his breadth of great knowledge and the importance of one with no need to expound.[5] This reflected the usage in the novel, Anna and the King of Siam, which expressed that king's playful understanding of innumerable things with the phrase, "&c., &c."[5]

Other uses[edit]

"Et cetera" and derivatives, such as "etceteras", have long been, and still are, used airily, humorously or dismissively, often as a cadigan, for example:

  • ... he still wanted numberless appendages to make him a fine gentleman, such as a fashionable tailor and hairdresser, an unblushing confidence, together with a long train of etceteras. These fashionable introductories being wanting, Mr Whitmore was obliged to find a substitute...[6] (1823)
  • The cost of the locomotives and their etceteras, is to be $136000 – their wear and tear $75600. Etceteras $90000...[7] (1834)
  • The etceteras: asteroids, comets and interplanetary dust are chemically speaking, "impurities" and are just a minuscule fraction of planetary matter.[8] (1989)
  • Having tried "to recover myth outside the books," the hidalgo crosses paths with common sense, everyday toils, and the religious dictates of the Counter-Reformation on a journey that tries to rescue chivalric etceteras of old.[9] (2008)
  • /etc, a folder in UNIX-like operating systems, responsible mainly for storing system-wide configurations, preferences, etc.[10][11]

In other languages[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Guardian Style Guide". 
  2. ^ "UK Government Style Guide". 
  3. ^ Brown, Lesley (1993). The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles. Oxford [Eng.]: Clarendon. ISBN 0-19-861271-0. 
  4. ^ Sir Ernest Gowers, Fowler's Modern English Usage, Second Edition. Published: Book Club Associates (1965)
  5. ^ a b Overstreet, Maryann (1999), Whales, candlelight, and stuff like that, p. 130, ISBN 978-0-19-512574-0 
  6. ^ Helme, Elizabeth. "The farmer of Inglewood Forest: or, An affecting portrait of virtue and vice" Printed and Published by J. Cleave and Son, 1823
  7. ^ The Farmer's register, Volume 1. Snowden & M'Corkle, 1834. (Google Books)
  8. ^ Degens, Egon T. "Perspectives on Biogeochemistry" Springer-Verlag 1989. ISBN 978-0387501918
  9. ^ Maiorino, Giancarlo. "First pages: a poetics of titles" Penn State Press, 2008
  10. ^ "/etc". Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  11. ^ "Filesystem Hierarchy Standard". Retrieved 2017-07-06. 

External links[edit]