[Ads-l] PS about "Very Copasetic" Fw: [ADS-L] copasetic, copacetic

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Fri Feb 24 10:17:57 EST 2017

About the headline, "Very Copasetic," used by Chicago Tribune and other newspapers in 1920:

not only is the spelling of "copasetic" that used in the 1919 book about Lincoln, but the collocation is a quote from that work, page 401, after noting the Mrs Lukins "is a famous cook" [the person in the Times ad also was a cook]

"In the words of Mrs. Lukins 'it is very copasetic,' [....]

Stephen Goranson


From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2017 6:33 AM
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] copasetic, copacetic

The Aug. 21, 1920 Chicago [Illinois; Daily] Tribune (and reprints) use of "Very Copasetic" has been mentioned before on this list (by Barry and by me). As noted before, the original [London] Times advert appeared Thursday, Jul 22, 1920; pg. 4; col. 2; Issue 42469. Indeed, as Garson mentioned, the "Very Copasetic" heading [The Times head was "Continental"] was added in the Chicago Tribune, a newspaper that gave the best-seller (and serialized) _A Man For the Ages_ a favorable review (on Jan. 24, 1920) and that carried multiple advertisements for it.

As I previously mentioned, note that the spelling matches that in the Bacheller novel (approvingly used there and explained more than once, and also linked by "depth" and by private individual vocabulary with "coralapus," an undisputedly (?) invented word [and perhaps compare Batcheller's Shrimpstone to coralapus]) and that writers of dialog in dialect (such as Eric Walrond [1925] and C. Van Vechten [1926], among many others, plausible readers and/or hearers of a very popular book on Lincoln) were scarcely bound by strict orthography.

I continue to find Bacheller the most probable source.

David L. Gold has pretty well eliminated Hebrew or Yiddish origins in Studies in Etymology and Etiology.... (2009) 57-75.

Of course, a putative verified antedating (not ~"said to be used in the 1800s" nor undocumented early proposed Chinook jargon [northeast?] or the like) would require reanalysis.


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