‘Et cetera’ means ‘and so on.’ It is used to end a list that would have, in full, included many things similar to what was already mentioned.
‘Et cetera’ is a Latin term which translates literally in English to ‘and the rest.’ It is believed to have originated in English usage in the early 15th century. It is worth noting that, although it is now abbreviated to ‘etc,’ before the twentieth century it was usually written as ‘&c.’
It is incorrect, but common, to use ‘et cetera’ (usually in the form of ‘etc’) simply to abruptly end a list that may otherwise be very long, or to imply that more examples could be given but the writer doesn’t actually know them! This usage of ‘et cetera’ is actually incorrect. When using Latin in modern English, it’s meaning must always be known and considered so we can be sure we are using it correctly. When it is spoken aloud it is commonly mispronounced ‘ek-setera.’
‘Et cetera’ should be abbreviated as ‘etc’ and only used to end a list of items or people who are very similar to the ones specified. Examples of usage in a sentence include:
‘Bob’s Restaurant sells fast food meals, hot dogs, burgers, fries etc.’
‘For dessert there are all the expected flavours of ice cream, vanilla, chocolate, etc.’