Why Do We Say O K ?

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Thomas Stearn, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Very Well-Known Member
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    This abbreviation is understood in many non-English speaking countries. But what does it actually stand for? What's your version of an explanation?

    PS: Very annoying that even the Thread Tools ("Edit title") do not let me do that, @Ken Anderson .
    Should be a capital K of course but at the keyboard I'm all thumbs. Well, not just there... ;)
     
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    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
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  2. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Well for me it stands for 'Okey Cokey'
    So should be OC :p
    (Great question)
     
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  3. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I looked up the answer and there really isn't one...so I won't post the link.

    I'll let members post what they think.

    To me it means "yes" but where it originated .....don't know.
     
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  4. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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  5. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    I like this explanation Bobby (from your link) ………..
    One paper published a half-serious claim that OK originated with Jackson using it as a mark for "all correct" (ole kurrek) on papers he had inspected.
    I also like the Scottish och aye, as it sounds like OK - whichever it is - is OK by me :p

    @Bobby Cole
     
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  6. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Have you noticed now that when texting many will just say "k"?

    Especially the younger crowd.
     
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  7. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Never texted in me life ! :p
     
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  8. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    K......:)
     
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  9. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Ha ha ! Seems like you're saying 'Que?' (Spanish for 'what' ?) :p
     
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  10. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Here is an example of a text with my 14 yr old grandson...we are in the same house but he's upstairs and I'm downstairs...it's a BIG house!

    IK means I know.

    The blue square is a gif of an alarm clock going off...screenshot didn't capture it.


    IMG_2849.JPG
     
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  11. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Veteran Member
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    It is "Expressing assent, concession, or approval, esp. with regard to a previous statement or question: yes, all right." So it is only in the sense of expressing approval that okay and yes mean the same thing. Other meanings of yes are not included.
     
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  12. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    According to the Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories, its origins were in the mid-19th century, and "OK" was probably an abbreviation of orl korrect, a humorous form of all correct, which was popularized as a slogan during President Van Buren's reelection campaign of 1840, as his nickname was Old Kinderhook, derived from his birthplace, which provided the initials, "OK," which were later sometimes made into the word, "okay."
     
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  13. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Either explanation is OK with me. :D
     
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  14. Maggie Mae

    Maggie Mae Very Well-Known Member
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    OK = Oklahoma :)

    Mom always said that OK was a lazy way to spell Okay ... whatever the case .. I use OK a lot and I suppose that's a good thing to have things being OK !
     
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  15. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Very Well-Known Member
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    Thanks to all those who helped shed some light on this. I came across this question and realised that there is more than one answer and was just wondering what you may have been told about its origin. Hardly surprising, the story often heard in Germany is that a guy named Otto Keller working at quality control for the Ford car maker had given the go-ahead for each car produced by marking it OK. Alternatively, it was a certain Oscar Keller working as a potato grower in Central America.

    Yet the most credible explanation is, indeed, the one based on Allen Walker Read's research also mentioned in Bobby's link according to which it emerged as a result of alternate spellings of common abbreviations which was a trend at that time. As it is said in the article linked, you are all right with your own explanations. Needless to say, old dogs...

    As language keeps developing, OK is also used as a verb now which might (have) take(n) some getting used to. I remember the time when "impact" was a noun only and using it as a verb was thought to be bad style - by some. Gone are the days...

    Thanks, @Ken Anderson for helping out and removing the dots. BTW, can I now use the editing functionality for the title of a thread? Does it work or was it my fault?
     
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