Okay (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Okay"?

The abbreviation "OK" (which later turned into the globally used word "okay") was first noted in 1839 in the office of Charles Gordon Greene at the Boston Morning Post. "OK" initially stood for "Oll Korrect" (a deliberate misspelling for "all correct").

At that time, the use of witty, incorrect abbreviations among writers was commonplace. Other abbreviations of this style were "OW" ("Oll Wright" meaning "all right") and "KG" ("Know Go" meaning "no go"). Used in similar vein to today's text speak (e.g., LOL, OMG, 10Q), "OK" gradually appeared in other Boston publications before spreading more widely across the US.

While "OW" and "KG" faded, "OK" did not. This is attributed to the Democratic Party's slogan "Vote for OK" in the 1840 American Presidential election. In this case, however, the abbreviation "OK" stood for "Old Kinderhook," which was the nickname of the Democratic Party candidate, Martin Van Buren, who came from Kinderhook. During the election campaign, Van Buren's supporters formed the "OK Club," and this is likely when the meanings "Old Kinderhook" and "Oll Korrect" started to merge.

Nowadays, "okay" is used globally, and it is regularly cited as the world's most widely used word.
Okay (Origin)

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