The improbable story of OK

January 18, 2024

It can be said with a check mark or a thumbs up. It’s written with two letters or four. What began as a joke nearly 200 years ago, OK has become the most recognized word in the world.

Okay, let’s start with the humble beginnings in the 1830’s when young Boston intellectual types delighted those in the know with butchered coded messages such as KC for “Knuff Ced,” KY meant “Know Yuse” and OW was short for “Oll Wright.” What stuck through the years is OK for “Oll Korrect.” Try getting past spell check with this paragraph!

The word OK could have disappeared into oblivion if it weren’t for the 1840 presidential election when Martin Van Buren was given the nickname of “Old Kinderhook” because of his hometown of Kinderhook, NY. Guess it’s okay to say that OK was the predecessor of today’s LOL and other popular abbreviations since it’s short for everything’s all right, fine, hunky-dory and satisfactory. Linguists say it has become essential to our communication.

As for which version of OK or okay is correct, multiple sources confirm they both get a thumbs up. Although some suggest that more formal writing calls for using okay, it really is OK to use either spelling. Glad we got this sorted out, as in KC or “Knuff Ced.”


Originally published by Pazanga Health Communications 








Join Cheryl’s Newsletter

Subscribe for More

Read More

Related Posts

Is this future of food?

Is this future of food?

There is something fishy about today’s feature, but first a little background. Like way back to when Eli Whitney developed the cotton gin machine that mechanically separated cotton fibers from the seeds—the first of several automated iterations that revolutionized the...

Humming your way to relaxation

Humming your way to relaxation

Yoga instructors are teaching it. Healthcare practitioners are encouraging it and Mayo Clinic even touts its benefits. What’s the buzz all about? Humming bee breathing. Breath is essential for our physical, emotional, and mental health. What makes bee breathing...

Leave a Comment


Subscribe to Cheryl's Newsletter

Subscribe to Cheryl's Newsletter

You have Successfully Subscribed!