Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jan 21 02:37:07 UTC 2005

At 7:12 PM -0500 1/20/05, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>>Doug, this is my first encounter with "copathetic."  Whatever its
>>significance, the occurrence of this form is so far unique.
>It's the only example know of from 1919. But then there are not many
>examples of "copasetic" (any spelling) that early either.
>Google "copathetic" and you'll find more recent examples, some of which are
>clearly synonymous with "copacetic" ... presumably an error for it ... or
>has the form with "th" had a below-the-radar parallel existence all along?
>I think there's an example of "copasthetic" in HDAS.

Yup, from 1930:  "I had to sock him in the jaw, but he'll be copasthetic."

There are also several examples of "copasetty" from the 1920s (or
copesettee, or copsetty), and none of "copathetty", for what that's

One of the HDAS cites is a quote from a John O'Hara letter, opining
that "'Copacetic' is a Harlem and gangster  corruption of an Intalian
word...In American it means all right" (1934).  So I guess that's one
of the trial balloons the negative etymology was intended to shoot


More information about the Ads-l mailing list