Category: words of the day


co·pa·cet·ic

adjective slang
fine; completely satisfactory; OK

not sure exactly where this comes from, but i’m assured that it’s a perfectly cromulent word. internet speculation suggests that it’s got roots in prohibition america, or black parlance in 19th century southern USA when used by jewish shopkeepers. everything i’ve found on the internet seems to dispute exactly where it comes from, but nevermind. it’s still a good word to describe my weekend, which was most copacetic.

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cor·us·cate

  1. To give forth flashes of light; sparkle and glitter: diamonds coruscating in the candlelight.
  2. To exhibit sparkling virtuosity: a flutist whose music coruscated throughout the concert hall.

i discovered this word in a guardian review of a book i’ve just finished reading (Look To Windward by Iain M. Banks, blog post in the pipeline). it’s such a beautiful word, whatever context you’re using it in, but the way the guardian used it to describe banks’ novel gave me one of those moments when you think the word must have been invented, just for this one use…

“ever since his first novel, the wasp factory, in which the narrator didn’t even know his/her own sex, Banks has demonstrated an exceptional flair for misdirection: the more you know him, the more you distrust every apparent fact. there’s a word to describe this quality of writing. it was a favourite of E E “Doc” Smith, an SF writer of the old school who used it whenever one of his spaceships was blasting the hell out of another: coruscating.” Guardian review: Look To Windward