Copasetic, also spelled copacetic, copesetic or - less commonly - kopasetic, means very satisfactory or acceptable.

Copasetic is an unusual English language word in that it is one of the few words of seemingly unknown origin that is not considered slang in contemporary usage. It is used almost exclusively in North America, and is said to have been first widely publicized in communications between the astronauts and Mission Control of the Apollo Program in the 1960scite web|url=|work=The Copacetic Comics Company|title=What the heck does copacetic mean, anyway?| accessdate=2007-06-19] [cite web
work=Lunar Surface Journals for the Apollo Space Missions
title=Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Journal: Post-landing Activities
] [cite web
work=Lunar Surface Journals for the Apollo Space Missions
title=Apollo 16 Lunar Surface Journal: Preparations for EVA-2
] .


The earliest known usage given in the Oxford English Dictionary is from the Irving Bacheller 1919 biography of Abraham Lincoln:

:1919 I. BACHELLER Man for Ages iv. 69 ‘As to looks I'd call him, as ye might say, real copasetic.’ Mrs. Lukins expressed this opinion solemnly... Its last word stood for nothing more than an indefinite depth of meaning.

There are many theories to the origin of copaseticcite web
work=Michael Quinion's Weird Words
] cite web
work=The Word Detective
] cite web
work=Pointless Art
title=Hey, don’t sweat it, Everything’s Copacetic!
] .It is widely accepted that it originated from some form of American slang. This conclusion stems from the slow introduction of the word into the written language mainly through use in periodicals and in character dialog in 20th century novels. Copasetic may have originated from African American slang in the late 19th century. It was used by African Americans in the American South (most notably by Bill "Bojangles" Robinson [Bill "Bojangles" Robinson even claimed that he invented the word himself, although this claim has not been taken seriously as many contemporaries stated that they had heard the word before Robinson] ) and by jazz musicians in Harlem in the late 19th and early 20th centuriescite book
title=American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
] .

One theory cite book
title=Listening to America: An Illustrated History of Words and Phrases from our Lively and Splendid Past | author= Stuart Berg Flexner | date=1982
] Citation
last = Funk
first = Charles Earle
title = Bill Robinson's 'Copesetic'
journal = American Speech
volume = 28
issue = 1
pages = 230–231
date = October 1953
year = 1953
doi = 10.2307/454144
] claims the origins are from the Creole French language of Louisiana, specifically from the French word coupersètique (meaning "able to be coped with"; from French "couper," to cut).

David Mamet has written an article about its origins [cite journal| url=| month=October| year= 2005| journal=The Believer| title=Linguistic Anomalies For Shut-Ins| first=David| last=Mamet] . He suggests that "copasetic" is a contraction of "All is well, for the Cop is on the settee." The American Heritage Dictionary lists alternate spellings that include copasetty and kopasettee, lending some credence to Mamet's theory. Mamet states:

:Yes, I agree. The derivation sounds improbable in the extreme. But I fully credit it. Why? I came across it as a footnote in a book written forty years before the word became generally known. It was not, therefore, an attempt to describe the origins of a mysterious word (as this is) but a tasty tidbit in a book about crime. The rub, however, is that I can’t locate the book.

The book that Mamet references might be "Gamblers Don't Gamble" by Michael MacDougall who, in 1939 (not quite the forty years previous to 1960 that Mamet remembers), provided the same etymology, also tracing its origins to Chicago criminal activity [cite book
title=Gamblers Don't Gamble | author= Michael MacDougall and J.C. Furnas | date=1940 | pages = 67-68 | edition=2nd
] :

:There's a lot of gambler-conman-criminal atmosphere about that language. I don't want to write a dictionary of gambler's lingo. But "copasetic" for instance. That goes back to the old Palmer House in Chicago which, as a very plush hotel, was a fat field for chump-hunters to work. But they could work freely only when the house-detective wasn't on the prowl. The house-dick's favorite spot for resting his feet was a certain settee down in the lobby. The chump-hunters usually kept a sentry with an eye on the settee who would report when "the cop was on the settee." As these words gradually ran together, they became "copasetic" and added a word to the language.

Copacetic may be a descendant of the Hebrew phrase "hakol beseder", (literally "all in [the] order" הכל בסדר) meaning "everything is alright", or "Hakol BeTzedek", meaning "everything is justified"cite web| url=| work=Online Etymology Dictionary| title=copsetic| accessdate=2007-10-01] .

Another theorycite book
title=A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English | author= Eric Partridge | date=1984 |edition=8th
] [cite web| url=| work=Chinook Jargon Phrasebook| title=Greetings & Courtesies| accessdate=2006-09-12] is that copacetic may have originated from Chinook Jargon, a trade language used in the Pacific Northwest to communicate between tribes, and European traders. The preposition "kopa" is very common in the language, and "Kopasetty" may have been used to mean "doing just fine". This theory was first put forth by Donald L. Martin who stated it derives from the Chinook Jargon word copasenee ("everything is satisfactory").

Yet another theory, put forth by novelist John O'Hara in 1934, claims (without evidence) that the word entered the African American slang lexicon via the Italian of American mobsters. Quoting O'Hara, "I don't know how to spell the Italian, but it's something like copacetti." There is no such word in the Italian language, however.

Alternate spellings

*copacetic — preferred spelling listed in OED and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
*copasetic — alternate spelling listed in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary; the correct spelling in Microsoft Word's spell checker feature.
*kopasetic — alternate spelling listed in OED
*copesetic — alternate spelling listed in OED and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
*copissettic — historical spelling given in a 1933 quotation in the OED entry
*kopasetee — historical spelling given in a 1926 quotation in the OED entry
*copasthetic — historical spelling given in a 1930 quotation in the Random House Historical
*koppithetic - historical spelling given in a 1960 quotation in the Farmers AlmanacDictionary of American Slang entry


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  • copasetic — see COPACETIC (Cf. copacetic) …   Etymology dictionary

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  • copasetic — adjective see copacetic …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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  • copasetic — /koʊpəˈsɛtɪk/ (say kohpuh setik), / ˈsitɪk/ (say seetik) adjective → copacetic …  

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