Etymology of "copacetic"

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Fri Feb 28 09:32:04 UTC 2014

Copasetic has been discussed before on this list. Copasetic is the earliest known spelling, but the Oxford English Dictionary uses the spelling Copacetic for its entry. Despite extensive searching no published use has been reported (here, at least) earlier than 1919. I have suggested that Irving Batchellor made the word up for his 1919 book, A Man for the Ages: A Story of the Builders of Democracy, about Abraham Lincoln. The same book includes what appears to be another neologism or newly-made-up word, coralapus.
My 27 Aug 2007 post:
and following posts discussed this further.

The ads-l archives can be searched here:

Stephen Goranson
From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Meng Lu [lumeng at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2014 4:14 PM
Subject: [ADS-L] Etymology of "copacetic"

Hi All,

I recently come across the word "copacetic".  English is my second
language.  OED does not seem to have much information.  Does anyone know
anything about the origin of the word?


PS. The entry looks like:

Pronunciation:  /kÉ™Ê pəˈsÉ›tɪk/ /-ˈsiːtɪk/
Forms:  Also copesetic, etc., kopacetic.
Etymology:  Origin unknown.
U.S. slang.
Categories ยป

  Fine, excellent, going just right.

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