Why we say “OK”

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  • Published on:  Wednesday, September 12, 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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  • Vox
    Vox  2 months ago +5391

    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

    • Mikeeyguy26 264
      Mikeeyguy26 264  yesterday

      Just to let you know, "ok" is spelled "okay" it's a four letter word, not two

    • ion
      ion  12 days ago


    • VaanDamn E.
      VaanDamn E.  1 months ago

      I think Vox got the Morse Code wrong. A quick search shows that "O" is "..." not ".." at 2:44 can you double check?

    • Mikrofonlar Kralarına Cevaplar
      Mikrofonlar Kralarına Cevaplar  1 months ago

      +nikos papadopoulos
      Turks are ancestors of Anglosaxons, Bulgarians, Hungarians..
      Black or Blue eyed black, blond and red haired warrior nation aiming to establish a one/a world state coming from East and Middle Asia rolling into all Europe, Scandinavia, Britain.. carrying their linguistic ancestary too: Attila and Mete Khans are key historical figures to meet the link.
      Nevertheless more than %50 Finnish vocabulary where being of Turkish language origin, especially many English words are considerably or very directly are same or their structures are of same consonants. As for German.. their history includes an era of defness and thonglesness. So they articulating the words with more hardship asin much strongness or strength.. where also word variations are more and with much of spree from the authentic Asian backgrounds (Asian Turkish) in comparison to the English.
      I know Turkish and English.. and can easily see the linguistic characteristics intersections in their authentic progeny and what we read in history thar took place with the actions of Attila and Mete Khans explain the how, why questionaries.. and terms are easily explicit to those are well educated in history and structures of langusges issues. Even today.. the vowels at times driving some into hardship, especially those who are not aware of the authentic stances of English and Turkish, about comprehension/configuring of the very same wordalites of the two languages. And for sure there is an issue of rule of change of articulations and meaning variations as one issue at first fir many academicians.. but.. though even in 70s these rules have been written are cited in encyclopedias.. (like Larousse) the cultural exploitation age has not left a place or time for these serious realities be seen by most. The postmodern age is destroying the reality of all humanity along with healthy sex stances, concept of family, ecosystems, cultures.. thar us not a surprise one to get overwhelmed by hearing the English-German-Bulgarian-Turk relations be it by ancestory or linguistically.

    • 83jwilson
      83jwilson  1 months ago

      Vox Your Morse code was a bit off...

  • turquoise770
    turquoise770  42 minutes ago


  • Victor Mançur
    Victor Mançur  58 minutes 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.

  • Rana Ram
    Rana Ram  an hour ago

    Ok Jaanu

  • Aiden Banana
    Aiden Banana  an hour ago +1


  • its_a_trab
    its_a_trab  6 hours ago

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

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous  12 hours ago


  • Marshall Zane
    Marshall Zane  13 hours ago

    Weird flex but *oll korrect*

  • Carleigh The toad
    Carleigh The toad  15 hours ago


  • 4ftershock
    4ftershock  15 hours ago

    An "O" is 3 dashes, not 2 dots.

  • 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.

  • Mighty Hacker
    Mighty Hacker  18 hours ago

    Ok this is epic

  • alex leon
    alex leon  18 hours ago


  • John Borden
    John Borden  19 hours ago

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

    KUUDA  22 hours ago


  • AbOoOd 1221
    AbOoOd 1221  22 hours ago +1

    Why we say why

  • Sabrina M
    Sabrina M  23 hours ago


  • Michal Nemecek
    Michal Nemecek  yesterday

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

  • Michal Nemecek
    Michal Nemecek  yesterday

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