Why we say “OK”

  • Published on: 12 September 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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  • Runtime : 5:22
  • OK okay history linguistics language vox Vox.com etymology origin newspaper telegraph martin van buren old kinderhook ok club explain explainer why we say ok origin of ok why we say okay origin of okay what does okay mean what does ok mean

COMMENTS: 40

  • Vox
    Vox   2 months ago

    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

  • sp ts
    sp ts   10 hours ago

    This story is not true ....the story goes back to a place in Greece which the are shipping protect for the eupore and the forced to every box to be checked before shipping and because they wanted to be faster they short the phrase " ολα καλα " which means "everything is fine" to O.K. ...... Check that vox

  • Rossana Parejo
    Rossana Parejo   12 hours ago

    I learned this from the movie " Silver Linings playbook"

  • Dark Modern
    Dark Modern   18 hours ago

    Nope, its an american term we gained from native american linguistics, like lasso. It derives from the shortened word "hokay" You can see it in Mark Twain. Its from the Oklahoma region of tribes, along with Heya/Heyahoka which became "Hey" over the years. I wouldnt be suprised if the news articles you sourced were published by people eager to anglicize mative american culture that was too indelible to eradicate. Early truthspeak.

  • Victor Mançur
    Victor Mançur   23 hours ago

    How can I help with subtitles? I'm from Brazil and I love this channel, but I can't share with my friends or the community 'cause most Brazilians doesn't know English.

  • its_a_trab
    its_a_trab   1 days ago

    Fun fact, we say ok in dutch too. Idk about other languages but we say it in holland

  • Aꙅꙅ dAↄkwAᴙbꙅ

    Well, the Bloods replace their C's to B's and the Crips change their B's to C's. Trying to remember that would drive me brazy.

  • John Borden
    John Borden   1 days ago

    You mean to tell me that cheeky hipsters from Boston started all of this?

  • Michal Nemecek
    Michal Nemecek   2 days ago

    I thought OK came from Of Course (K because Course is pronounced with a K sound)

  • Michal Nemecek
    Michal Nemecek   2 days ago

    I thought OK came from Of Course (K because Course is pronounced with a K sound

  • I’m Bored
    I’m Bored   2 days ago

    During this video I kept saying ok 😂💀🤷‍♀️