- a small unspecified object; bric-a-brac (in plural)
- other related objects or ideas; et cetera
- a freestanding set of shelves on which ornaments are displayed
A what-not is a piece of furniture derived from the French étagère, which was exceedingly popular in England in the first three-quarters of the 19th century. It usually consists of slender uprights or pillars, supporting a series of shelves for holding china, ornaments or trifles of any kind, hence the allusive name. In its English form, although a convenient drawing room receptacle, it was rarely beautiful. The early mahogany examples are, however, sometimes graceful in their simplicity. In some parts of the United States, the term what-nots has come to mean the decorative ornaments so displayed.
What-not is also an English term used to incorporate any other details not mentioned. This term is used much like et cetera to supplement details.