Why we say “OK”

Why we say “OK”

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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79 Responses

  1. Vox says:

    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

  2. Munden says:

    so I guess that means that the best memes live on

  3. Shehran Salam says:

    Do you ever think of a word so much that it doesn’t make sense any more?

  4. Abhimaneu KJ says:

    OK is a never ending meme.

  5. Romeu Capela sa says:

    This video was OK

  6. Oscar Js says:

    And here in Denmark we do the exact opposite we switch out K with C (A lot of words in Denmark start with K).

  7. Some People Call Me The Space Cowboy says:

    4:50 the chicken was okay ⭐⭐⭐
    .
    .
    . Worst petshop ever ⭐
    What?

  8. paris says:

    that MCR clip in the beginning really hit the heart

  9. Reeo says:

    It’s legit just a meme

  10. Cory Mck says:

    So “okay” is actually an incorrect spelling? Whodda known.

  11. The Mulatt says:

    We need pewdiepie to kill this meme! It’s so overused plus all the normies uses it >:(

  12. Legendary King says:

    Ok now i get it

  13. Han Onyme says:

    It’s oll korrect to be white.

  14. Eyal says:

    When will lol become a part of the english language? I really want to express how badly im laughing at something

  15. Alex Henderson says:

    Why does every language seem to use it. Just through pop culture??

  16. Renegade5130 says:

    Knice

  17. MrKillamanjaro666 says:

    IM NOT BLACK IM O.J.!
    …..ok

    -JayZ

  18. Tommy Khoury says:

    A couple of boiz who took a meme way too far

  19. The Santi Family says:

    OK was said 48 in this video.

  20. Mike Ved says:

    So OK is an eternal meme?

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