“OK”: meaning and origin of the term

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A term that is an indispensable part of everyday speech in German, is "OK". Almost everyone uses the short term, usually to accept someone or to signal that something is fine &# 8211; not only in Germany but all over the world. But where is originally the term and where the "Okay" has its meaning?

328Where does "OK"?
To the origin of the word, many legends and history entwine. clarified clearly the origin of is "okay" not. The Duden is the spokesman since 1954. There, "okay" is "settled" or define "consent". The shape "okey" is indeed sometimes used is not mentioned in the dictionary. For other uses, "perfect", "good" and "right." Colloquially, one could also "everything in butter" instead of saying "okay".

"OK", "okay" or "okey": Why is that?

The term is one of the few words that are understood throughout the world and used. About the origin of the term "O. K." or the term "okay" there are discussions for years. In linguistics, the hypothesis of Allen Walker Read has established.

  • Walker Read leads the origin back to the 30s of the 19th century.
  • The first mention to 1839 appear in an article in the Boston Morning Post.
  • During this time expressions were included in everyday language abbreviations to misspelled. As examples "KY" will "NS" for "know yuse" / "no use", here for "nuff said" / "enough said" and even that "OK" called for "oll Korrect" / "all correct".
  • "OK" was used in the newspaper again and again for "all correct".
  • Only "OK" seems to have found its place in the long term in the language.
  • Around the same time the tenure of the 8th US President Martin van Buren fell.
  • Whose nickname was "Old Kinderhook" (short "OK"). This was also his birthplace.
  • 1840, during his candidacy for a second term his followers founded the "OK Club", one of his campaign slogans was "Old Kinderhook is OK". The "OK" was thereby further way into everyday language.


Even a show of hands has been established for "OK": The thumb and forefinger forming a circle. this is seen as going thumb icon "OK" in many countries, see some cultures herein but an insult, similar to the finger. The "OK" sign has succeeded in the list of emoji or smileys on the smartphone.


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"OK": What does this and where does it come from this mean?

About telegraphy and the widespread use of abbreviations where the abbreviation "OK" found its way to Germany and the rest of the world. Other theories that should be "okay" to go back about a Native American language or abbreviations of the US Army are explained by one of the majority of linguists as implausible.

Anyone who wants to delve deeper into the explanation of the meaning and origin of "okay", found in the book "Ok: The Improbable Sotry Of America's Greatest Word" by Allan Metcalf a very extensive and detailed execution on more than 200 pages *"OK": meaning and origin of the term.

The extensive OC book on Amazon*

Image: dolgachov

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