Though her Planet was Spinning Chaotically, Kate Smiled Copacetically

Resort in Sedona

Los Abrigados Resort in Sedona

The word, copacetic, has a more recent yet uncertain origin.  My father-in-law liked this word.  “How’s it going, Dad?” “Oh, everything’s copacetic!” Is copacetic in your vocabulary? If not, maybe you’d like to add it. Well, maybe you need to know what it is!

I spent most of this past week in Sedona, Arizona (less than an hour from  home) at a beautiful resort with a friend who invited me to join her there.Rosy and her husband have a timeshare, and Rosy had reserved a suite for the week at Los Abrigados Resort and Spa.  She thought that some of the exercise classes, the pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, gardens along Oak Creek, and the relaxed atmosphere would be good for my health. Ah, yes! She also wanted to share the week with a friend, rather than being there alone. Good! On the way home on Friday, we decided that the trip had been copacetic, and we were going to be copacetic with our families back at home! Of course, I only have my husband to come home to, but Rosy has her husband and six children at home!

At The Chapel on the Hill

Copacetic Pansies at The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona

I’ve always thought of copacetic as meaning smooth, peaceful, harmonious.  Rosy and I had “googled” it one evening, checking several sites. Hmm. It came into use around 1915 – 1920, although it dates back a bit earlier.  While the etymology is uncertain, it may be of African-American origins or maybe from Jewish immigrants speaking Yiddish! (Check out the various possibilities via World Wide Words: .)  My in-laws grew up in Chicago and then moved to California in 1945, finally settling down in Crescent City.  They probably picked up the word in the Windy City.

Online dictionaries tell us that it means “very good, excellent, completely satisfactory,” “in excellent order,” or “fine.” (What? “Completely satisfactory”? Then it’s excellent. “Fine”? Too bland to suit the connotation.) It is considered to be an American, Canadian slang word, but it has not sounded like slang to me. To me, slang usually has a more earthy, crass, or corny feel.  (Everything’s “honky-dory”!)

Copacetic sounds as soft and nice as its meaning. With four syllables, it seems mature or educated. Or, am I just too simple and naive? (Yes.) After all, I’ve only heard it used by my husband and his dad. No matter, I smile when I think of Rosy and me, laughing over the word and describing our week and attitude this way. We anticipated exuding “copaceticity” and seeing how others would respond to us. Hopefully, they’d think our time away was well worth it, not only for us, but for them!

Rosy - Hiking along Oak Creek below Cathedral Rock

Rosy – Hiking along Oak Creek below Cathedral Rock

I settled in at home, putting my things away and doing laundry. I planned dinner for when Paul would come home from work. He came home sick and went right to bed.  Exuding “copaceticity” went unobserved.

I’ve looked for a noun, verb, or adverb form of this adjective, and I’ve found none. Thus, I’m constructing a noun form: copaceticity. While it takes a few seconds to learn to roll it off your tongue, once you do, it’s easy and smooth. Copaceticness sounds flat. Won’t do. Copacet sounds like a possible root word (noun) for the adjective.  Since the word’s etymology is mysterious, maybe Copacet is a town in some imagined land — in some novel — on another planet, an orderly place of peace and satisfaction. Hmm. Maybe when I write my first novel, Copacet will be the setting for the story. Now, don’t steal my idea.

Though her planet was spinning chaotically, Kate smiled copacetically. . . .  Now I have an adverb!

I don’t think it works well as a verb:  Kate copacetted casually down the street, down the street. A pleasanter girl you’d never meet and never greet — our copacetic Kate!  Oh, I’m writing song lyrics — corny ones — rather than a novel!

Rosy and I decided against starting a movement called “Copaceticism,” because there are enough “isms” in this fragmented world. However, I’d love to be a “Copacetic” (noun; one who lives by a copacetic code).  In contrast to the Ascetics, Stoics, and Cynics, yet not Epicurean. . . but then again, I’m toying with “isms.” Very tempting.

Exploring the word online, I found a store in Wisconsin named Copacetic. It’s motto or sub-title is “Look good – Feel happy!” Now, that sounds copacetic. I also discovered  a pop music album produced in 1993 entitled Copacetic.  I found The Copacetic Comics Company  in Pittsburgh! Ha!  Really! After seeing the word in such various contexts, I now understand that it is more of a slang word or nearly a colloquial word (North American; not used in English around the world, I’ve read). Nonetheless, this is a pleasing word, and I’m going to integrate it more into my speech. In honor of my father-in-law, LeRoy Olsen. In honor of the delight of fun.

The village of Copacet waited patiently for its dear Kate to discover her wings, knowing she’d bless all with her delicate dance and lilting voice. All in good order. All in good time.  Like pollen scattered from flower to flower, Kate and her winged friends would spread  Copacet’s gracious order and peaceful outcomes to the rest of the planet. The Kingdom of Copacet will come. Chaos will be banished. His Grace will reign, and Kate, his consort, will smile copacetically at his side.  And they will all live, of course, copacetically ever after. Let it be.

Copacetic Conditions: A yummy, sunny January day at Los Abrigados!

Copacetic Conditions: A yummy, sunny January day at Los Abrigados!

Copacetic Rosy and Karen

Rosy and Karen

Peaceful view of the Red Rocks from our suite.

A copacetic view of the Red Rocks from our suite.

Categories: Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Though her Planet was Spinning Chaotically, Kate Smiled Copacetically

  1. Amy

    I LOVE this! Thanks, Karen!

  2. Copa, copa! (Bravo, bravo). What a “wordsmith.” – Louis

  3. Anonymous

    “Copacetic!” Hmmm! As I think about the definition, that describes the way I feel when I’m around you or have spent time on the phone with you. I leave the sound of your voice feeling peaceful and in harmony, just as if I had left a nice resort and spa. Such a nice word. I’m going to figure out how to use it. Love you girl!!! Carolyn

    • kltolsen

      Thanks, Carolyn. Thank You, Lord!
      Enjoy the word, and may it encourage us to think in harmony with Philippians chapter 4.
      Sending a copacetic hug!!!

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