The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Et cetera

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For the weblog on The New Republic website, see &c.

Et cetera, often abbreviated to etc., and sometimes in older texts as &c. or &/c, is Latin for and the others. It is often used to represent the logical continuation of some sort of series of descriptions. For example:

We need a lot of fruit: apples, bananas, oranges, etc.

It is important to avoid the phrase "and etc." because then you are saying "and and the others".

Note that in formal contexts, it is preferable to write the full phrase et cetera as opposed to the abbreviation. The English equivalents and so on and and so forth are also suitable.

When dealing with lists of persons, it is considered extremely inappropriate and insulting to use et cetera instead of et al. (which stands for et alii) or and others.

Et cetera can be distinguished from miscellaneous, as miscellaneous is used to describe a thing or a set of things that cannot be categorized into other categories, not as a continuation of a set as et cetera does.

See List of Latin phrases for other common Latin phrases.

Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46