The common English abbreviation etc. shortens the Latin "et cetera" (also sometimes used in full in English), but the phrase can be abbreviated still further, to simply, &c

Sometimes it is written without a "." (period) after it; sometimes it's written with one. Sometimes, it's even written as &/c, though that's generally in older texts.

Generally, it is preferable to write out the full expression "et cetera" rather than using any abbreviation. In any case, they are all pronounced the same: "et cetera".

The reason &c is such an appropriate abbreviation for et cetera is not simply that et means "and," (nor that & means "and"), though both of these are true. It's also because the & itself was formed by the vertical fusion of the letters 'e' and 't', which is detailed a bit here. By the way, even the word "ampersand" has an interesting origin, in that it comes from "and per se--and." That is, it was a way of saying (in English), "an 'and', all by itself [yes, one character]. [then confirming what was just said, again:]'and'."

Strangely, despite being fairly well-exposed to literature, (and moreover, interested in Latin), I did not personally encounter this little cute device, the '&c' until today, on E2. I speculate that it is less commonly used than 'etc.,' but it's out there. Try googling it if you haven't seen it before. Wordnerd reports that it's generally only used in British-English writing, (which would explain why I, an American, had not encountered it before).

If you've never seen it before, don't feel bad. You're not stupid. And if you have, congratulations--you're not stupid either.
Now, that should pretty much cover everyone, I think, hm?


1. Eidolos says: The &c came first. et becoming & and cetera becoming c.

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