Why we say “OK”

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  • Published on:  Wednesday, September 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
    Vox  2 months ago +5330

    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

    • ion
      ion  9 days ago


    • VaanDamn E.
      VaanDamn E.  29 days ago

      I think Vox got the Morse Code wrong. A quick search shows that "O" is "..." not ".." at 2:44 can you double check?

    • Mikrofonlar Kralarına Cevaplar
      Mikrofonlar Kralarına Cevaplar  1 months ago

      +nikos papadopoulos
      Turks are ancestors of Anglosaxons, Bulgarians, Hungarians..
      Black or Blue eyed black, blond and red haired warrior nation aiming to establish a one/a world state coming from East and Middle Asia rolling into all Europe, Scandinavia, Britain.. carrying their linguistic ancestary too: Attila and Mete Khans are key historical figures to meet the link.
      Nevertheless more than %50 Finnish vocabulary where being of Turkish language origin, especially many English words are considerably or very directly are same or their structures are of same consonants. As for German.. their history includes an era of defness and thonglesness. So they articulating the words with more hardship asin much strongness or strength.. where also word variations are more and with much of spree from the authentic Asian backgrounds (Asian Turkish) in comparison to the English.
      I know Turkish and English.. and can easily see the linguistic characteristics intersections in their authentic progeny and what we read in history thar took place with the actions of Attila and Mete Khans explain the how, why questionaries.. and terms are easily explicit to those are well educated in history and structures of langusges issues. Even today.. the vowels at times driving some into hardship, especially those who are not aware of the authentic stances of English and Turkish, about comprehension/configuring of the very same wordalites of the two languages. And for sure there is an issue of rule of change of articulations and meaning variations as one issue at first fir many academicians.. but.. though even in 70s these rules have been written are cited in encyclopedias.. (like Larousse) the cultural exploitation age has not left a place or time for these serious realities be seen by most. The postmodern age is destroying the reality of all humanity along with healthy sex stances, concept of family, ecosystems, cultures.. thar us not a surprise one to get overwhelmed by hearing the English-German-Bulgarian-Turk relations be it by ancestory or linguistically.

    • 83jwilson
      83jwilson  1 months ago

      Vox Your Morse code was a bit off...

  • This Girl
    This Girl  2 hours ago


  • Banana Are Awesome

    I thought it was for okay

  • Justin H
    Justin H  2 hours ago

    Whenever you go to a website, if the page loads the server returned a "200 OK" HTTP Status code. So even computers say "OK."

  • Zach Kaiell
    Zach Kaiell  4 hours ago

    Worst pet shop. ever.

  • tobzmiyagi
    tobzmiyagi  4 hours ago

    I don't buy it

  • gucci squidward
    gucci squidward  5 hours ago

    I thought it was a short version of okay

  • G. B.
    G. B.  7 hours ago

    Micha chahta anumpa anumpoli li :-) I speak Choctaw. Chahta sia hoke. I am Choctaw. Ok is a Choctaw word.

  • painedumonde
    painedumonde  7 hours ago

    So AOK?

  • Jason Randolph
    Jason Randolph  9 hours ago

    Mortal Kombat

  • MysticBlast3r26
    MysticBlast3r26  10 hours ago

    this is so sad, *alexa* play despacito

  • Abhay Nadayil
    Abhay Nadayil  10 hours ago

    Ok Jaanu

  • Shriya Sista
    Shriya Sista  11 hours ago


  • Haiyan Karbelkar
    Haiyan Karbelkar  12 hours ago +1

    The video was ok

  • 30secondstomarsMBH
    30secondstomarsMBH  14 hours ago

    And now we just say K. I love humanity sometimes!!!!

  • Padsy Waps
    Padsy Waps  16 hours ago


  • Rahul Balan
    Rahul Balan  19 hours ago

    So when did we start adding "ay" to "ok"?

  • Thieving Peppers
    Thieving Peppers  20 hours ago

    The meme that will never die

  • Autumn's Child
    Autumn's Child  23 hours ago

    But like... I screamed when Gerard said Okay 😝

  • Rishi Patel
    Rishi Patel  23 hours ago