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In William Golding´s Paper Men, the main character keeps saying "Ha et cetera". What does he mean by this? Is it simply another way of saying "ha, ha, ha" (laughter)?

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Please provide context. – coleopterist Oct 1 '12 at 8:22
I checked it out on Amazon.com, and there's no way of knowing without knowing a bit about the character. It appears to be an affected way of saying Ha, ha, ha, but who knows? Only someone who's read the book and has been introduced to the main character. I wouldn't venture a serious guess from the 10 or 15 hits I got searching the text. – user21497 Oct 1 '12 at 9:11
Without having read the work, I think that Singer's answer sounds plausible. (I was going to write similar but he's said it already :-) ). It's the character's affected way of bringing attention to his low opinion of various things. I tend to add [tm] after some items with a very roughly similar aim. The phrase "Yeah, Right!" comes close. – Russell McMahon Oct 1 '12 at 10:25

I believe this is a way in which the main character expresses sarcasm, maybe mixed with a little distrust or disdain (to a phrase/thought that is). I think an equivalent to this would be an ironic smile, or a sneer.

It is a way in which the main character responses to phrases, or thoughts, which he finds ridiculous or nonsense.

So I think the following two phrases will have roughly the same meaning:

  • "He told me he saw a flying pig yesterday... Flying pigs, can you imagine it? What a nonsense..."
  • "He told me he saw a flying pig yesterday... Flying pigs, can you imagine it? Ha, et cetera..."
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