How do we pronounce "/etc" folder?

Is it only 3 letter e,t and c?

  • 1
    However you want. Jul 30, 2013 at 11:21
  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about English language and usage, not particularly related to computer software, and primarily opinion-based.
    – slhck
    Jul 30, 2013 at 11:31
  • @slhck Can you migrate the question to english.stackexchange.com? It's a valuable question.
    – nixda
    Aug 1, 2013 at 4:47
  • 1
    @nixda No, sorry. It's still entirely based on personal preference ("I pronounce it like this: …", "I've always heard people say …", etc.)
    – slhck
    Aug 1, 2013 at 5:44
  • @shlck: This is not an English language question, because it seems that the name of the /etc directory (present in every UNIX and Linux system, independently from localization) is frequently pronounced differently than the corresponding English word "etc.". May 14, 2014 at 14:21

5 Answers 5


There is no official pronunciation. It is an abbreviation for "et cetera" and used as for system-wide configuration files and system databases.

Everyone I know pronounces it "et see"

  • 4
    so should be "e" "t" "see", right?
    – TheOneTeam
    Jul 30, 2013 at 4:52
  • 1
    @KitHo, no 'et' is one sound. 'et-see' is two syllables. Jul 30, 2013 at 4:55
  • 6
    Like that Arts 'n Crafts website Etsy... Which is where it came from. Jul 30, 2013 at 4:59
  • 2
    Or if you are Finnish, "ee-tee-see" :) Jul 30, 2013 at 9:09
  • 2
    "et cetera" in the UK
    – Nick
    Jul 30, 2013 at 10:20

Everyone I know who is non native English speaking say "slash ee tee cee", otherwise, looks like there is no consensus ...

  • I know several people from England and Holland who pronounce it "etsy" however I dont remember if they said that from the time the came to America. I know we used to make fun of them for saying "rooter" for router. They eventually switched to the American pronunciation.
    – Keltari
    Jul 30, 2013 at 13:58
  • 1
    @Keltari: pronouncing router as "rooter" is perfectly acceptable. The reason is that route is pronounced "root" in british english; there is no pronunciative distinction between root and route in british english. As it stands: rowter is A.E. while rooter is B.E. but both are acceptable in their own right.
    – klaar
    Dec 14, 2017 at 15:06

Everywhere I have been has said "et cetera" or "E T C" never heard of "et see".

NB - also it can be said 'X cetera'.

  • 3
    Everyone I know says "et cetera".
    – Nick
    Jul 30, 2013 at 10:20
  • @Nick Never heard "et cetera" in that context. Do you really mean you hear sentences like "The configuration file is in et cetera" ? That sounds very odd to me.
    – jlliagre
    Jul 30, 2013 at 20:19
  • @jlliagre As in "The file is in "slash et cetera" ie /etc since you write et cetera as etc.
    – Nick
    Jul 31, 2013 at 7:16
  • @jlliagr yes just as in your sentence. Edit the smb.conf in your "et cetera" config directory, for example. Jul 31, 2013 at 8:26
  • 1
    @Nick and David, Interesting. I'm used to "slash user vs you ess er" and "slash temp vs tee em pee" but never heard (or more probably just didn't notice) "slash et cetera".
    – jlliagre
    Jul 31, 2013 at 8:40

Purely anecdotal, but

  • all the North Americans I know say 'et-see' (with emphasis on the first syllable)
  • all the British people I know say 'ee - tee - see'
  • all the non-native English speakers I know use either one of the above, or try to make it into a word. Commonly heard is 'eat - see'.

Sometimes people say 'slash' beforehand depending on context and audience.

  • 1
    I've only ever heard a couple of North Americans say "etsee" most say "e-t-c" or sometimes more technical people will say "et cetera" but I think maybe the Linux/BSD users I'm around are older and it may be generational, as "etsee" I've only ever heard from 20-something Ubuntu users here in North America, and only in the last 6 - 8 years or so. I'm pretty out of touch with reality in general though ;) Feb 1, 2015 at 13:12
  • I'm 31, from the U.S., and would never have thought to say 'etsee'. I've always said 'ee tee see'. Then again, most of my 'conversations' about linux have been confined to writing. Jan 11, 2016 at 10:17

Its as simple - slash 'e' 't' 'c'

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