Re: OK -- a word?

Subject: Re: OK -- a word?
From: "Hume, Patrick F" <patrick_hume -at- REYREY -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1998 08:18:00 -0400

Hi Cassie,
Here's my info on the etymology of the word OK (also O.K. or okay). The
reply I sent yesterday was mostly true, but my memory did fail me in a few
places. This information comes from Bill Bryson's excellent book Mother
Tongue-English and How It Got That Way.

Bryson mentions three theories I've synopsized below. Also much of the
information following the theories is based on the information in his book.

* It comes from someone's initials-an indian chief called Old Keokuk,
a shipping agent named Obadiah Kelly, President Martin Van Buren's nickname
"Old Kinderhook" (previously I reported to Cassie it was "Old
Kinderbunk"-and I still think the term "bunk" fits a politician better), or
from Orrins-Kendall crackers, which were popular in the nineteenth century.
This theory holds that the initials were stamped on documents or crates and
became synonymous with reliability or quality.
* It was adapted from a foreign or English dialect word or place
name-Finnish Oikea, Haitain Aux Cayes (the source of a brand of rum), or
Choctaw okeh.
* It is a contraction of the expression "Oll Korrect," often said to
be the spelling used by the semiliterate President Andrew Jackson.

OK is an internationally recognized term used in almost every language in
the world.

Although I rarely, if ever, use it outside the typical "click OK"
terminology, it is extremely useful in this sense because it is recognized
across the globe. Personally, I prefer OK to either O.K. or okay, but none
of these terms offend me as some terms do-in other words, you should use any
of these three terms as you see fit, but under no circumstances should any
of the terms ever be utilized.

That's my lesson in diction and etymology for the day-I'm not hawking
Bryson's book, but it is a fun read.

All the best,

-----Original Message-----
From: Parker, Cassandra M. (EXCH) [SMTP:CMPARKER -at- INTERMEDIA -dot- COM]
Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 1998 2:32 PM
Subject: OK -- a word?

Hi List Readers,

I have not seen this on the list and hope that I'm not being

Does anyone have any history on the word (or acronym) OK? I've seen
shown as:

OK and okay

Is there a time you would use one rather than the other?



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