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


  • Vox
    Vox   1 weeks 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

  • Pikachu
    Pikachu   33 minuts ago

    I hate it when someone says alexa in a video because my always answers to the demand

  • FatGuyonTheCouch
    FatGuyonTheCouch   43 minuts ago

    Law of minimum effort. All languages start to simplify. Like today. Like saying "totes" instead of "totally". Get ma speech done!

  • Ludwig Vonn
    Ludwig Vonn   1 hours ago

    I'm sure the maker of the video knows that english is not really the oldest language in the world and to presume that OK has a history beyond the 19th century is more than reasonable. This is old news.

  • Crystal Kitty
    Crystal Kitty   2 hours ago

    Annie are you ok? Annie are you ok,are you ok Annie?

  • Anton Kirchhoff
    Anton Kirchhoff   4 hours ago

    Made a little meme out of it :)https://www.bilder-upload.eu/bild-ebc899-1537957132.jpg.html

  • Grozny Entertainment
    Grozny Entertainment   4 hours ago

    In Chicago it evolved.. 10-4 is short for ok. . funny "o k" is shorter than "ten four"

  • hannah woolery
    hannah woolery   6 hours ago

    what does the reply K... mean after sending a paragraph. asking for a friend🤧

  • Kenny Martin
    Kenny Martin   7 hours ago

    Vox: "it gained popularity due to the K."Me: "Oh no. Not agian..."Vox:" The K stands out in advertising due to its rarity in the English language."Me: "Oh thank God!!!"

  • Anka
    Anka   7 hours ago

    I'm Not Oll Korrect (I Promise) -My Chemical Romance

  • inky
    inky   9 hours ago

    This is total rubish

    BURN BBQ   9 hours ago

    I thot is was for like in that foz "zero"=0 "kill" = k

  • Pikaboubou
    Pikaboubou   10 hours ago

    To be honest I thought all those 'k's were caused by Mortal Kombat syndrome 😏

  • samito
    samito   10 hours ago

    Vem de oh karaiokkkk so mt piadas

  • Kitty
    Kitty   10 hours ago

    lol gottem XD

  • Jess Jeans
    Jess Jeans   10 hours ago

    The beginning of this made my Alexa go off 😂

  • A Nihtgenga
    A Nihtgenga   10 hours ago

    Buckwheat taught us to say "O-Tay!"

  • Douglas Patterson
    Douglas Patterson   10 hours ago

    I thought for sure you guys were just gonna say, “ because racism”