Why we say “OK”

  • 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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  • Vox (Sep 12, 2018)

    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 adapt...

  • Rikku Takanashi (18 hours ago)

    That is interesting. It seems the O and K sound, at a basic level, has been used as a natural affirmative for a long, long time. Which, is likely why Ok was so easy to adapt.

  • iChillypepper (Mar 7, 2019)

    You forgot the Choctaw use of okeh

  • Truly Infamous (Sep 13, 2018)

    So it came from 1800's memelords and became one of the most well known words.

  • Allen Allen (Feb 15, 2019)


  • Khajiit Hadwares (Jan 31, 2019)

    O.K actually comes from Pepe the Frog, aka TOP KEK.Kek is an egyptian deity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kek_%28mythology%29OK is said in the same manner as Oh My God - Oh Kek.Being a vocal shortening of the phrase Ave Kek.

  • TheReal Doge (Nov 27, 2018)

    weird flex but *_Oll KORRECT_*

  • Benjamin Marks (3 days ago)


  • Emmett Kineman (Nov 23, 2018)

    I bet in 100 years their will be another video: Why we say "oof"

  • Eric Palacios (17 hours ago)

    666th like ;)

  • Anshika Pal (3 days ago)

    Then another one will be "offo"And saga will continue.........

  • ibsio (Dec 10, 2018)

    OK = oll korrectKC = knuff cedKY = know yuse OW = oll wright

  • ok= ohne kometar

  • Kenneth Jara (Mar 15, 2019)

    KY also means kentucky.

  • ok (Jan 12, 2019)

    weird flex but •• —•—

  • IvyTruong (1 day ago)

    It's --- -.- not .. -.-

  • Soopy Gril (4 days ago)

    ... - .- -. / ... - .-. .- -.-- / -.- .. -.. ... / .. -.. .. --- -

  • Chris (Sep 12, 2018)

    so ok is basically a dumb meme that got out of hand. ok.

  • Leonard Marc Ramos (Sep 14, 2018)


  • Mike Man 2005 (Sep 14, 2018)


  • Name not found (Dec 16, 2018)

    I hope “Yeet” lives up to this and becomes one of the greats.

  • ZwartWitte Panda (Mar 17, 2019)

    .. _. _

  • golden g (Mar 17, 2019)


  • vic da fangirl (Nov 22, 2018)

    I see you Krusty Krab

  • Carly Vidler (Dec 10, 2018)

    Ok mr krabs

  • Einstein's smexy Hands (Dec 2, 2018)

    So If OK were some word came from memelords back 1830s then...Could people possibly in the future will actually say F during funerals or any sad occasions???

  • Yuzan (1 day ago)

    They might source your comment when they make a video to learn its origin.

  • Unknown Side account (5 days ago)

    I’ll tell you guys what happens in a few years