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Everyday Words

Where did the words we use everyday come from? What are their origin stories? Just as a random example, how did such an unusual phrase like et cetera come to be born?

Well, its story begins in that bizarre and long-forgotten time called the mid-1980s. During this peculiar period, a kid could listen to Oingo Boingo on the radio while playing Congo Bongo at the video arcade. However, everyone in this mixed-up era knew one thing for certain: if you needed a power ballad for an upcoming action movie sequel, there was only one man to call - Peter Cetera. Therefore when the creators of The Karate Kid Part II were assembling a soundtrack they made sure to request him. But Peter was worried he could not complete such an important project by himself, so he was forced to call on the assistance of his talented but treacherous elder brother Et. Together, Peter and Et Cetera crafted the wonderful "The Glory of Love" for the upcoming film. However as the song won accolades, the sinister Et Cetera claimed that he had done three times the work of his brother Peter and demanded to be credited as such. Hence when the Grammy nominations were announced, the creators of "The Glory of Love" were listed as below:

Peter Cetera, Et Cetera, Et Cetera, Et Cetera

The public found this attribution somewhat confusing, but most just assumed "et cetera, et cetera, et cetera" was the way fancy Rock'n'Roll people said, "and so on and so forth." So the phrase quickly gained popularity with masses. Some literary types even used the initials of Et's full name (Et Tiberius Cetera) to abbreviate the phrase as "etc." in writing. Thus, you can see that not all English words have boring Latin backstories.

Fame is fickle, and the Cetera brothers' popularity eventually dwindled in the United States. However, they did develop quite a big following in some parts of Asia, with the King of Siam being a particularly big fan as the video above demonstrates.