Date: Mon, 3 Nov 1997 11:18:01 -0500
From: Alan Baragona baragonasa[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]VAX.VMI.EDU
Subject: TAN: folk etymology of copasetic
Recently, there were separate discussions on this list about the nature of
folk etymology and about the mysterious etymology of "copasetic". They
dovetailed for me this morning while talking to a colleague, and I thought
I'd share an accidental folk etymology with the list. Whether this is one
model for how folk etymologies arise I would not venture to say.
My friend used "copasetic," and when I mentioned that it had been the topic
of conversation here, he said he'd always dimly assumed that it was the name
of a laxative that had been extended to mean anything that went as smoothly
as crap through a goose. I pointed out that he was confusing "copasetic"
with "Kayopectate" (sp?), but he admitted that even if he had remembered the
real name of the laxative, he might have thought that "copasetic" was just a
variation of it.
This is probably as reasonable an etymology as Partridge's joke that it
comes from "cope" and "antiseptic" by way of Amerindian.