Why we say “OK”

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  • Published on:  9/12/2018
  • How a cheesy joke from the 1830s became the most widely spoken word in the world.

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    OK is thought to be the most widely recognized word on the planet. We use it to communicate with each other, as well as our technology. But it actually started out as a language fad in the 1830’s of abbreviating words incorrectly.

    Young intellectuals in Boston came up with several of these abbreviations, including “KC” for “knuff ced,” “OW” for “oll wright,” and KY for “know yuse.” But thanks to its appearance in Martin Van Buren’s 1840 presidential re-election campaign as the incumbents new nickname, Old Kinderhook, OK outlived its abbreviated comrades.

    Later, widespread use by early telegraph operators caused OK to go mainstream, and its original purpose as a neutral affirmative is still how we use it today.

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Comment

  • Vox
    Vox  4 months ago+6104

    Another popular false origin of OK comes from the American Civil War (1861-1865) which says that soldiers returning from battle would report "0K" (zero killed). And there's a few from around the world, too. Like the Greek "όλα καλά (óla kalá) which means "all good," the Scottish "och aye," which means "oh yes," and even a French-named seaport in Haiti, Aux Cayes. While these are all pretty interesting and might indicate why "OK" was so easily adapted into language worldwide, none of them can actually be traced in their influence the way "oll korrect" can. Neat. - Coleman

  • Patrick Hodson
    Patrick Hodson an hour ago

    OK is OLL KORRECT!!!

  • Marsel Monro
    Marsel Monro 5 hours ago

    Weird flex but •• -•-

  • Majek temmy
    Majek temmy 6 hours ago

    "Alright guys, cut it out" Lol

  • Za Ra
    Za Ra 16 hours ago

    Is that why the Kardashian’s names start with a K?

  • Arlen Manders
    Arlen Manders 18 hours ago

    I did a OK study in college found several historical origins. No one can take claim to it. Its ancient.

  • sir monsieur
    sir monsieur 21 hours ago

    the letter C mad asl right now

  • Seraaron
    Seraaron 21 hours ago

    Ok but why do some people spell it 'okay'?

  • 808JOKER
    808JOKER yesterday

    Ok

  • Zah Raz
    Zah Raz yesterday

    I live in Iraq and people use it here as a part of slang. And I didn't expect it to be used so often.

  • fiscaljoy
    fiscaljoy yesterday

    Ok

  • alexander5
    alexander5 yesterday

    knock out

  • alexander5
    alexander5 yesterday

    Okay

  • Char10tti3
    Char10tti3 yesterday

    Okay

  • Shiny Paint
    Shiny Paint yesterday

    Oke: I'M NOT OK

  • Ponemah Elementary
    Ponemah Elementary 2 days ago

    Okie Diddly Okie

  • Leo g
    Leo g 2 days ago

    Always thought it meant oll klear - All clear.

  • James Patton
    James Patton 2 days ago

    Is it Okay? Or OK?