The Origins of “OK” – BBC

On 23 March 1839, OK was introduced to the world on the second page of the Boston Morning Post, in the midst of a long paragraph, as “o.k. (all correct)”.

via BBC News – How ‘OK’ took over the world.

This fascinating article details the origin and passage into common use of OK.

What OK provided that the others did not was neutrality, a way to affirm or to express agreement without having to offer an opinion.

When living in Japan, I noticed immediately that OK was a recognizable word commonly used and I always wondered how it passed into the language and become so common (though there are a great many “loan words” in the Japanese language from English, German, and Dutch).  According to this article, one of the ways that OK became commonly used in many cultures is that the sounds of OK are sounds that exist in almost every language.

I’ll be looking for further articles about the spread of OK – comment here if you know of any!

Word OK written using jigsaw puzzle pieces

Image by Horia Varlan via Flickr


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