There is a discussion going on over at Slashdot regarding what /etc in Linux/Unix stands for. Is it an acronym or does it stand for 'et cetera' ? While the opinion is divided, the overwhelming thought is that it stands for et cetera. That is, what ever data which doesn't belong to other directories are put into /etc. Such as the 'motd' file (which stands for "Message Of The Day"). Many of us also look at /etc as a placeholder for the configuration files of programs which we run on our system.
If you look at the Linux file hierarchy, you find the following :
* /etc - Usually contain the configuration files for all the programs that run on your Linux/Unix system.
The file system hierarchy standard [FSHS] explains /etc as follows :
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