Definition of copacetic
- And his smile told him that everything was copacetic.
- —Robert Bloch
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
don't worry, because I assure you that everything's copacetic
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'copacetic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Theories about the origin of copacetic abound, but the facts about the word’s history are scant: it appears to have arisen in African-American slang in the southern U.S., possibly as early as the 1880s, with earliest known evidence of it in print dating only to 1919. Beyond that, we have only speculation. One theory is that the term is descended from Hebrew kol be sedher (or kol b’seder or chol b’seder), meaning “everything is in order.” That theory is problematic for a number of reasons, among them that in order for a Hebrew expression to have been adopted into English at that time it would have passed through Yiddish, and there is no evidence of the phrase in Yiddish dictionaries. Other theories trace copacetic to Creole coupèstique (“able to be coped with”), Italian cappo sotto (literally “head under,” figuratively “okay”), or Chinook jargon copacete (“everything’s all right”), but no evidence to substantiate any of these has been found. Another theory credits the coining of the word to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who used the word frequently and believed himself to be the coiner. Anecdotal recollections of the word’s use, however, predate his lifetime.
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subject to rapid or unexpected change
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