Word of the Day : July 15, 2017

copacetic

play
adjective koh-puh-SET-ik

Definition

: very satisfactory

Did You Know?

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.



Examples

"... if you're going to be traveling with us it just wouldn't look too copacetic for you to be carrying that ratty old bag." — Christopher Paul Curtis, Bud, Not Buddy, 1999

"In terms of living standards we're now back to where we started which while not making us entirely copacetic is at least better than not having recovered as yet." — Tim Worstall, Forbes, 8 Aug. 2016



Name That Synonym

What synonym of copacetic can also describe a man who pays a lot of attention to his appearance?

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