• Carmen Milligan

Wednesday Word: Copacetic

copacetic adjective

co·​pa·​cet·​ic | \ ˌkō-pə-ˈse-tik \

variants: or less commonly copasetic or copesetic

Definition of copacetic : very satisfactory


I am not sure how I know this word, but it seems to me that it was part of the saying of a character on television when I was growing up. He (because I distinctly remember this coming from a male voice) would give instructions, and then say, "Copacetic?" in an effort to make sure he had been understood.


The very first usage of this word was in "A Man for the Ages", a 1919 novel about the young Abraham Lincoln by writer Irving Bacheller. In 1920, it shows up in the lyrics of a song, ""Copasetic was the password for all, At the new jump steady ball". The actual origin of this word, however, remains a mystery. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson claimed to have coined the word in a series of letters to lexicographer Charles Earle Funke. Some say it is from the Louisiana French coupe-sètique; and, still others claim it is borrowed from Israeli Hebrew hakol beseder, "all is in order". Unfortunately, all of these are without substantive evidence. It remains a mystery as to the birth of the term.


Until then, let's honor the word, and wherever it came from, by using it more prolifically. Copacetic?

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