Submitted by vanillla on September 28, 2005

OK vs Okay

I have seen both OK and Okay used regularly. If OK is correct what do the O and the K stand for? If Okay what is the origin? Thank you.

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I heard a long time ago (meaning don't quote me on this) that OK dates back to the civil war (or maybe it was another war). It stands for Zero Killed. And, of course, when no one in your batallion got killed that day, everyone's having an OK day!

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I was taught that both are acceptable in written English. However, I find "okay" to be more eloquent in compositional writing, if that is a concern. Okay? OK.

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Hmm, I read somewhere that it was an American term from the American Revolution period standing for the incorrectly spelled "Oll Korrect", or All Correct, meaning everything was right as rain. Simply because the person who invented the term obviously hadn't been educated before coming over to the States. (That last sentence is just my speculation =P).

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I belive that OK is just american slang. It is most likley that this occured when some lazy person decided it was a wast of time to right out the whole word, but over time the english language accepted it as correct spelling.

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The story goes that in the '20s, Greek immigrants in the States used to receive packages with gifts from their families with the letters O.K. on them. These stood for Ola Kala, meaning everything's good.

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Like Andrew, I was under the impression that it was from "Oll Korrect", except it was a joke, not a misspelling by immigrants, and I believe it dates later than the Revolutionary War. It was intended to be a sarcastic comment that people could write when grading or proofreading a poorly written paper. (Of course, this could be "folk etymology"--a story someone made up to explain the history of a word which s/he doesn't really know the history of.)

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I have heard these histories and others, but all sources I have seen also say that the history is obscure. No one really knows for sure.

PS - have you ever noticed that when you make the "OK" sign with your hand, you actually spell out the letters, "O" and "K"? I've never seen this mentioned anywhere.

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I heard that soldiers used it in a war. It meant "All clear", but they said OK so the enemy won't know what they meant... or something like that...

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I just had my students watch a video about American word origins. O.K. clubs were formed in support of Martin Van Buren (whose nickname was Old Kinderhook).

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I'd recommend reading Ryan's link below. As Cecil Adams makes clear, there are many, many extant stories about what "OK" means, and nothing conclusive to choose between them (although he leans towards "oll korrect"). Me, I'm reserving judgment; I think we just don't know.

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pls look at cevdet yagci

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origin of the ok which is exactly coming from turkish as herebelow :
ok stand for in turkish is : arrow
ay stand for in turkish is : moon
in the pass the turks used the arrows while they are
on the horses, and the later stages they have contested
each others in the huge circles to win the competition.
when the arrow(ok) hit the exact mid of the target i.e.(moon=ay) then okay(o.k.) means in turkish the target finally was hit.
even today, we have a place in istanbul which is called
o.k. meydani(arrow circle).
briefly ; ok or okay has been derived from turkish.

this is posted by cevdet yagci, istanbul, turkiye.

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That's a funny one, Cevdet.

It's well accepted and well documented that it comes directly from "all correct", there's no argument otherwise.

It either comes from a joking folk spelling of "oll korrect" or a joke that neither O nor K is correct.

As for which version is correct to use, “OK” is the most widely accepted. Originally it was written as “O.K.” and “Okay” was a later contrivance.

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I heard nothing.

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dear ingis kahn,
ok=okay(turkish origin), this is the reality but oll korrect to okay is totally an invention/deception. if you investigate the roots of the english language you will most likely see that many words derived from other languages like french or german.
whereas o.k.=okay is being used in turkish language since the year 600. turkish language=turkish is a scientific language and nowadays some scientist has been accepting this reality. I think you should make some works into the turkish language.

anyhow, it's nice to discuss here through internet.

no one should be died without seeing the heaven(=istanbul).

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"OK" came waaaay before "okay" and "okay" is NOT acceptable in the English language.....only in America. The reason it is used in the US is because Americans are good at doing things differently lol (don't use metric system, pronounce the letter Z differently, etc.)

With that being said, whenever you write or see "okay" written, know that it is wrong and bad English. It is just an abriviation that is spelled out. Imagine if you see NHL (National Hockey League) displayed in writing as "En Ache Ell." That is simply the reason for why we see "OK" as "okay."

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Everyone, please ignore Alex. He doesn't know what he is talking about. "OK" may be the more common and older spelling, but "okay" is also standard and acceptable. Just consult reputable usage guides and dictionaries.

So often this kind of nitpickery about rules of usage concerns *dumb* rules, and the people who wield them are usually elitist busy-bodies.

Incidentally, according to WikiPedia "the okay spelling of it first appear[ed] in British writing in the 1860s".

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Wow, this is great. There are more etymologies listed here for this word than I've ever seen for any other word. Some people are even claiming theirs to be the absolute truth (i.e., Cevdet and Ingis). To make things even more fun, I am going to add another story that I've heard about the origins of "ok" (O.K., OK, Okay): I heard that "oke" is a Cherokee word with pretty much exactly the same meaning and pronunciation as our modern English "okay." So maybe it's just another loanword from the Algonquin languages.

Basically, every source I have ever read says the same thing about this word: there are some interesting stories, here they are, but no one knows where the word really came from and all of the stories could be wrong.

factoid of the day: "okay" is the single most widely recognized utterance on the globe. "Coca cola" is #2. I heard that on the History Channel.

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please try to understand, it's so simple and easy "okay" is a Turkish origin word. "okay" or "ok" or "ay" all of them are turkish.
ok : arrow
ay : moon
a simple way please imagine the eros' sculpture, like this one, turks used bow, to shoot an arrow, in the past.
okay means in turkish to shoot the target.

posted by cevdet yagci, istanbul, turkiye, who is a researcher man especially historical events.

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Sorry Cevdet, even if you're a history expert, I won't buy your story. I once heard a nice little saying: the truth of an etymology is indirectly proportional to how interesting it is. I know that this story of how "okay" is a Turkish word that means to shoot the moon is very nice and sounds logical. However, as we are all fully aware, logic is not prerequisite to etymology. Words come from the least expected of places and it is really impossible to know one way or the other with many of them. I wouldn't be surprised if you could find a word in any language that resembles "okay" and then even contrive a story about how the meanings match up too. Thus is etymology, the worlds most sophisticated game of telephone and gossip.

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My French Teacher Mr.Colburne and I where wondering why we spell Ok like this; Okay or viseversa. We tryed looking in the dictonary to find out what it stand for, we found the definiton but that's no what we wanted. If you guys could help that would be great. Thanks.

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If you search deeply enough, you will discover the German words, Oll Korrect, meaning All Correct. This is more appropriate for the origination of the word and our usage.

Danke

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As adverb (The motor’s working O.K.), adjective (I’m OK again now), noun (Please get your supervisor’s okay), and verb (Will she OK it?). The abbreviation is written with and without the periods but usually with both letters capitalized. Okay is the only current spelled-out version; okeh is obsolete.

(Bartelby)

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Wow, this is interesting! I'd never heard of any of these explanations. What I had been taught is that "OK" was used by some Oklahoma senator to sign or approve documents. Unlikely, I know - but it's an explanation I haven't seen on here yet!

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er, "Oll Korrect" is not German by any stretch of the imagination.

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http://chiefmag.com/issues/2/features/The-Histo...

The article I linked to seems to have all of their bases covered including the ones mentioned in the comments.

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i beleve that you are all mistaken the origin of the paraprhase ok is actualy from ancient babalonien and ironicaly it was a symbolisatic reference to the dath of a warrior. i hope this enlightens you all.
the original word is phonetically spelled as:

och kray

thank you

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The true origin of O.K. comes from a U.S. Army quartermaster whose initials were O K. Nothing left his domain without his initails on it , that is to say without being OK-ed

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wow...
to read the given articles giving me to explain something more dealing with okay it's really interesting for me.
I will explain the time of usage of okay, but, however it may take some time.

1 vote Vote!  •  Permalink  •  Report Abuse

So, whence comes 'okey-dokey'?

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So what is up with "A ok".... that is what i want to know...

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O.K. originated as an inside joke in a New England local newspaper in the 1800s. It was meant to stand for "oll korrect," and they would use it when they thought something was "alright". It was meant to be funny and ironic because it was purposefully misspelled, so it wasn't "all correct" as it said.
"Okay" just stems from the abbreviation.

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...And -I'VE- done my research. ^_^

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interestingly, while the origin is highly debated, it doesn't seem to have become popular and widely used until martin van buren ran for president of the U.S. his nickname was Old Kinderhook, and there were many signs and posters that said things like "Vote for OK" or "Vote for O.K." The phrase seems to have already been in use and somewhat popular in New England during the election, and there were even some signs in the region that read "O.K. is OK" But it is the widespread use of the phrase in the election that made it spread through the US and become popular.

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I'm not really OK with any of these explanations. I believe it came from Oke Doaky which is derived from the ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic symbols that depict a bird catching a worm. That hieroglyphic is pronounced Okeye Doakeye. Egyptians used it often to mean all is going well. We say it as I'm oke doaky.

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Abbreviation of oll korrect, slang respelling of all correct.]


Word History: OK is a quintessentially American term that has spread from English to many other languages. Its origin was the subject of scholarly debate for many years until Allen Walker Read showed that OK is based on a joke of sorts. OK is first recorded in 1839 but was probably in circulation before that date. During the 1830s there was a humoristic fashion in Boston newspapers to reduce a phrase to initials and supply an explanation in parentheses. Sometimes the abbreviations were misspelled to add to the humor. OK was used in March 1839 as an abbreviation for all correct, the joke being that neither the O nor the K was correct. Originally spelled with periods, this term outlived most similar abbreviations owing to its use in President Martin Van Buren's 1840 campaign for reelection. Because he was born in Kinderhook, New York, Van Buren was nicknamed Old Kinderhook, and the abbreviation proved eminently suitable for political slogans. That same year, an editorial referring to the receipt of a pin with the slogan O.K. had this comment: "frightful letters ... significant of the birth-place of Martin Van Buren, old Kinderhook, as also the rallying word of the Democracy of the late election, 'all correct' .... Those who wear them should bear in mind that it will require their most strenuous exertions ... to make all things O.K."

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above quote from dictionary.com

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Re: "factoid of the day: "okay" is the single most widely recognized utterance on the globe. "Coca cola" is #2. I heard that on the History Channel."

I'll take any and all explanations you all have offered. One sounds just as good as the next, but since this is P.I.T.E., I can't resist pointing out that the word <i>factoid</i> actually means "something resembling a fact; unverified (often invented) information that is given credibility because it appeared in print," according to Princeton.
I think this thread is chock-full of factoids, at any rate.

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haha in fact, you are clearly completely wrong in every possible respect. "Factoid" is actually very similar to "fact" but differs from "fact" solely in that it is uttered in alien-voice. Another more seldom used definition of "factoid" is "a unique type of interplanetary debris composed of..um..facts." Upon impact with the surface of the earth, factoids become known as "factites," rare and exotic minerals revered by some cultures.

Now that we're on the topic, I swore that I noticed a gaping hole in..uh, Princeton. Probably got hit by a factoid...

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I saw a documentary once, that explained the origin as follows: there as a quality control officer at some major American car-manufacturer, I think it might have been Ford, who used to sign of the finished vehicles as having passed quality control with his initials "O.K.", short for "Otto Kraus" (he was of German decendency). So "Okay" is merely the phonetic way of writing it.

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Ther article Erin quotes is also found in The Book of Totally Useless Information (http://www.amazon.com/Book-Totally-Useless-Info...).

I gotta say, most of these explanations (Egyptian? Turkish?) sound like imaginative fabrications. The "oll korrect" origin from a Boston newspaper and other events of the time seems like the most plausible explanation by a long shot.

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rize, ikizdere, ayvalık köyünden, yaÄŸcı ailesinden namı diger YiÄŸitoÄŸlu ailesi. babası mehmet zeki yaÄŸcı ve annesi asiye yaÄŸcı'dan olma istanbul ili kartal ilçesinde dünyaya gözlerini açmıştır. ilkokulu ikizdere, ayvalık köyü mektebinde tamamlamıştır. orta okul ve lise istanbulda tamamlanmış müteakiben jeofizik mühendisliÄŸinden mezun olduktan sonra(=istanbul üniversitesi), askerlik kısa dönem ve tekrar okul, iÅŸletme fakültesinde deniz iÅŸletmeciligi üzerine ihtisas programını burslu öÄŸrenci olarak tamamlamıştır. bu yazıyı dile getirenin kendisi oldugu iddia edilmiÅŸtir.

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Thank you Cevdet, thank you!!! Now, it's crystal clear. Perhaps you should post your comment on painintheturkish.com.

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Still, Bill, plausibility does not always equal correctness.

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O.K. derives from the Russian word "karash

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Go to Wikipedia.com and search "okay" and it will give you ALL the information on it, including the most likely origin (dating back to Boston newspapers in the 1830's) and also many other suggested origins.
Apparently "OK" is the original word. Although, as someone earlier said, I feel that "okay" has a nicer flow to it for writing.
Hope this helps. =)

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well like most of the words in american-english, its fucked up! i think british-english is more elequent even though it mite not sound KOOL!

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I've been wondering about OK for quite some time. Now having perused all the above I'm
still wondering.

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I thought it was 'Okay' because if it is O.K then what would the O and the K stand for?

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All of the English Languge is stupid. Love should be spelt luv because the E is silent.

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I thought that OK was the British English way and Okay was the American English way, but I am not sure. I wish there was a solid answer but I can't seem to find one anywhere.

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okeh is coming back into usage as internet english

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after for a long time to see here so many comments make me happy. it is really interesting thing. understand everyone think that the word of o.k. coming from their roots. okay is a unique turkish name which is exactly coming from "ok" plus "ay". It means "arrow" plus "moon".
please pay attention I am now explaining here another historical reality which is "logarithmic chart". is there any one knowing that this chart where coming from. certainly not coming from u.k. I will explain this later on. but not now. like these ones I know something more about interesting things in the world. please search first then write here not like fiction.

cevdet yagci alias yiÄŸitoÄŸlu(son of brave).

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hahahahahahahaha no no no you've got it all right.
All of you, have got it.

thank you for being alive and well enough to stimulate yourselves with conversations about silly slang words. It doesn't matter what language you speak, so long as you can love.

P.S. yo, cevdet is actually the one who is right; this is god speaking.

over and out

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I heard that OK originated in the belly of a whale and, once freed, floated ashore in Turkey sometime in the 6th century where it was made into arrows and shot at the moon.

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Like I said on March 20, 2008, OK originated with the ancient Egyptians. If you go to the website http://www.eyelid.co.uk/e-name.htm (which shows ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic symbols for letters) and type in OK you will get a bird and a basket. This in modern terms is like getting a chicken strip basket from Zaxby's. Which we all know is OK. But really as cevdet yagci alias yiÄŸitoÄŸlu(son of brave)
knows the ancient Egyptians did not have a Zaxby’s. But its obvious, the ancient Egyptians started the OK term with the meaning of everything is doing fine when they represented the symbol for OK as food (the bird) in a basket.

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<strong>Oxford Dictionary: </strong>
<blockquote>mid 19th cent. (originally US): probably an abbreviation of orl korrect, humorous form of all correct, popularized as a slogan during President Van Buren's re-election campaign of 1840 in the US; his nickname Old Kinderhook (derived from his birthplace) provided the initials</blockquote>

<strong>AskOxford:</strong>
<blockquote>There have been numerous attempts to explain the emergence of this curious colloquial expression, which seems to have swept into popular use in the US during the mid-19th century. Most of them are undoubtedly pure speculation. It does not seem at all likely, from the linguistic and historical evidence, that it derives from the Scots expression 'och aye', the Greek ola kala ('it is good'), the Choctaw Indian oke or okeh ('it is so'), the French aux Cayes ('from Cayes', a port in Haiti with a reputation for good rum) or au quai ('to the quay', as supposedly used by French-speaking dockers), or the initials of a railway freight agent called Obediah Kelly who is said to have written them on lading documents he had checked.

The oldest written references to 'OK' result from its adoption as a slogan by the Democratic party during the American Presidential election of 1840. Their candidate, President Martin Van Buren, was nicknamed 'Old Kinderhook' (after his birthplace in New York State), and his supporters formed the 'OK Club'.

This undoubtedly helped to popularize the term (though it did not get President Van Buren re-elected!). During the late 1830s there had been a brief but widespread craze in the US for humorous misspellings, and the form orl korrekt which was among them could explain the initials 'OK'. Such a theory has been supported by more than one distinguished American scholar, and is given in many dictionaries, including Oxford dictionaries.

The only other theory with at least a degree of plausibility is that the term originated among Black slaves of West African origin, and represents a word meaning 'all right, yes indeed' in various West African languages. Unfortunately, historical evidence enabling the origin of this expression to be finally and firmly established may be hard to unearth.</blockquote>
http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/abou...

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thanks all friends for your nice comments concerning about okay/ok.
western world always alleged that they made/invented/found everthing in the world.
but, in reality they took most of them from the east like "okay". the founder father of the modern turkey, Ataturk had used the word of "okay" withhout abbreviation(=ok).
however, most likely it should be used in ancient egypt and/or other places of the world. but the origin of the word exactly coming from turks. this word is 100 percent turkish. okay(comes from) = ok+ay
ok = arrow
ay = moon

In the ancient times turkish warriors had used arrows as first time in the world. moon(=ay) comes from target due to circle(=like target, imagine modern games). and they used the word okay(=arrow+moon) the target was hit/killed. In the late 16th centuries(=especially in the ottomans) had used this work exactly as okay, like everthing is perfect.

I can suggest here that if everyone want to know more about ok def should come to turkey and search for the archive of the ottomans in order to get/see the documents.

thanks.

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There was one earlier, and unrelated, use of “OK.”    March 23, 1839, C.G. Greene, editor of the Boston <i>Morning Post</i> used “O.K.” as if it were an abbreviation for “oll korrect,” a facetious mispelling (being all incorrect) of “all correct.” (<i>Webster’s New World Dictionary, 3rd college Edition</i>, (c) 1988, Simon & Schuster, Inc.)

“OK” is now the most common thing to say in the whole world...

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ok comes from the FRENCH 'au quai' when ships finally made it to port with their goods. the rest of the explanations are just wishful thinking

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Examination of the historical use of the two letters “OK” indicate otherwise, wishful thinking that things are otherwise notwithstanding.

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Hey guys, I was wondering the same thing until I stumbled upon this funny little tidbit:

WORD HISTORY OK is a quintessentially American term that has spread from English to many other languages. Its origin was the subject of scholarly debate for many years until Allen Walker Read showed that OK is based on a joke of sorts. OK is first recorded in 1839 but was probably in circulation before that date. During the 1830s there was a humoristic fashion in Boston newspapers to reduce a phrase to initials and supply an explanation in parentheses. Sometimes the abbreviations were misspelled to add to the humor. OK was used in March 1839 as an abbreviation for all correct, the joke being that neither the O nor the K was correct. Originally spelled with periods, this term outlived most similar abbreviations owing to its use in President Martin Van Buren's 1840 campaign for reelection. Because he was born in Kinderhook, New York, Van Buren was nicknamed Old Kinderhook, and the abbreviation proved eminently suitable for political slogans. That same year, an editorial referring to the receipt of a pin with the slogan O.K. had this comment: “frightful letters … significant of the birth-place of Martin Van Buren, old Kinderhook, as also the rallying word of the Democracy of the late election, ‘all correct’ .... Those who wear them should bear in mind that it will require their most strenuous exertions … to make all things O.K.”

- From www.answers.com/ok

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well "OK" pretty much means agreement.
"take the dogs out later"
"ok"

While "okay" means fine or alright.
"are you sick?"
"i'm okay"

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Quite a nice, and long, discussion.

Bryan A. Garner, in "A Dictionary of Modern American Usage," has this to say about OK/O.K./okay:

"Each of these is OK – but nowadays the first is the most OK of all."

Most amusing. Don't give up your day job.

Merriam-Webster's "Dictionary of English Usage" has more to say on the subject. They give "okay" a slight edge over "OK" and "O.K." in regard to frequency of usage. They note that "okay" has the advantage of "taking regular inflections without apostrophes" when used as a verb.

As for the origin, there have been some interesting theories posited here. Cevdet Yagci says that it is Turkish, Simon says it's French, Erida says Greek, Erudite: Russian. Woodrow Wilson thought it was Choctaw for "it is so" – it isn't – and so he spelled it "okeh." None of these seem likely, fun though they be. Nor do I believe that "OK" is Civil War argot for "zero killed," for the simple reason that there were no battles without deaths in that war.

Porsche – ever the wag – points out that the "OK" hand sign spells out the letters O and K, though actually it is closer to the ASL sign for F.

The prevailing theories seem to be that it stands for "oll korrect" or "Old Kinderhook." (As Mykhailo points out, it may be both.) I have heard the phrase "all correct" used by the WW II generation, but that may be a back-formation from OK. It's fascinating that the origin a word of such recent origin can be so foggy.

As for spelling, I prefer either "OK" or "okay" over "O.K." Whatever the origin, it has long ceased to be an abbreviation, so the periods are superfluous. When used as a verb, I think "okay" is preferable, for the reason cited by Merriam-Webster. But "OK" has visual punch. Use either, but be consistent. OK?

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I heared that the work OK was short for the name of a street in Vietnam where the prostitutes hung out. The street name pronounciation was something like.."Hunkydory".....
when the soldiers were at ease with the war torn country and had time on their hands a great deal of this would be spent in the clubs and bars in Hunkydory road. How true this is i dont know but does sound original. Horky Dorky... Okay...OK. lol.

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My old history teacher, Mrs. Kitsmiller, said that they phrase 'OK' came from some guys initials. She showed it to us in five different books to, so, that's where it comes from I think.

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WGAF = Who gives a f***

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Quote: "The earliest claimed usage of okay is a 1790 court record from Sumner County, Tennessee, discovered in 1859 by a Tennessee historian named Albigence Waldo Putnam, in which Andrew Jackson apparently said:

"proved a bill of sale from Hugh McGary to Gasper Mansker, for a Negro man, which was O.K."[1]
What is widely regarded as the earliest known example of the modern "ok" being set down on paper is a quintessential "we arrived ok" notation in the hand-written diary of William Richardson going from Boston to New Orleans in 1815, about a month after the Battle of New Orleans. One entry says "we traveled on to N. York where we arrived all well, at 7 P.M." By most reckonings a later similar entry uses "ok" in place of "all well": "Arrived at Princeton, a handsome little village, 15 miles from N Brunswick, ok & at Trenton, where we dined at 1 P.M."[2]

There are several theories on the origin of "okay" (including 1.Greek words "Ola Kala" (??? ????) meaning "everything's good" or "all good"; used by Greek railway workers in the United States.) However, the word seems to be predate railways...

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thank to all people for concerning root of okay/ok/o.k. i am happy to see these responses. however the rich history of turkyie will tell you that it is indefinate coming from turkish

(coming from) = ok+ay

ok = arrow
ay = moon

the ancient turks shoot arow onto the moon caused the moon to fall out sky. attaturk and ottaman take the moon and write okay on it and then put back onto sky. this is 100% where name comes from


if you don't believe me you should go to moon and see yourself


tedvec icgay alias yiÄŸitoÄŸlu(son of coward).

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The Turkish etymology is pretty far-fetched and unlikely. Somehow I doubt the ancient people were stupid enough to think they could hit the moon with an arrow!

From Wikipaedia - There are five proposed etymologies which have received material academic support since the 1960s. They are:

1.Greek words "Ola Kala" (??? ????) meaning "everything's good" or "all good"; used by Greek railroad workers in the United States. It is also said that "O.K." was written on the ships or other places to show that the ships are ready.
2.Initials of the "comically misspelled" Oll Korrect[6]
3.Initials of "Old Kinderhook" a nickname for President Martin Van Buren which was a reference to Van Buren's birthplace Kinderhook, NY.
4.Choctaw word okeh
5.Wolof and Bantu word waw-kay or the Mande (aka "Mandinke" or "Mandingo") phrase o ke

The Greek theory seems to be the most likely.

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"Okay" is the full version of the word and "OK" is an abbreviation/shorthand.
As such, "okay" is the more correct version although it is rarely used in formal documents anyway so this distinction is somewhat irrelevant.

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I've learned in my 8th grade history class that OK was the abbreviation for Ol' Kinderhook, or Martin van Burin. His presidential campaign was "OK is okay."
The actual term "okay" came from and is used by many languages -->

Oll Korrect
Old Kinderhook
Old Kaintuck
Choctaw: okeh
Wolof: waw-kay
French: "Au quai"
WWII War Time: "0 Killed , (Zero Killed)"

these are other terms that I have heard it used for.
Thanks Mr. Dickinson!

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It doesn't matter about the history.

All we have to know is that there was a history to OK, and the oral code OK was eventually adopted. Now, for the written code, people wrote it down as OK, as in the letters OK, or O.K., as in O.K. means 'alright', but it's still an abbreviation. Eventually, it came to a point where OK's origin did not matter. Since a lot of anglophones don't like reading two capitalised letters together unless it's an actual improper noun, to decapitalise it, it was written as okay. Some people, because 'okay' is simply the sounding written version, think it illegitimate, and so, use 'OK' or 'O.K.'.

I personally think 'okay' is semi-stupid, and 'ok' is the proper use. If it's made it into a word, treat it like one! Anglophones are just usually stubborn to adopt a word that doesn't make sense in terms of sounding as it's spelt. Of course, there are many exceptions to that, but in some way it still makes sense to them. 'ok', however doesn't make sense to them at all. So it's usually one of the first three mentioned. There is some hidden rule to some people that words spelt the way it's pronounced the same as it were if they were simply the letters pronounced is wrong. There are still so many people who spell 'tv' 'TV' or even 'T.V.', which I find quite ridiculous.

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I think when you write 'ok' it comes with consensus
and when you write 'okay' it means some level of disagreement or assertion or may be some kind of commanding voice

"I will call you later, okay?"

This is a kind of non-negotiable and I will call you later only, do you still have any problem?

"Ok, I shall call you later."
Cool, things are fine, I shall call you later.

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I think what most of you are forgetting, is that the written form of words comes after the spoken form.
I'm not going to sit here and pretend like I know the history of the word - like some of you - but I am going to give you one little fact that I think we can all agree on:
"Ok/O.K./Okay" was spoken from the mouth before it was written onto paper. Anyone's interpretation of the spelling of that word could have lead to differences in opinion on "okay".
Regardless, I prefer "okay" in literary terms, and "O.K." when one doesn't have to be formal. Common abbreviations are never widely accepted in formal writing, unless first introduced with the definition of said word once - and "okay", having no agreed-upon history, would hence always be written in formal writing as "okay".

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I'm a English Literature professor at Oxford and I can assure you that the correct spelling is OK and not okay. It comes from the latin 'Imus ti kay mithog il o' which translates to the sacrifice of a small lamb, or kay.

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I'm not a pompous English Literature professor... I do know a little bit of latin and 'sacrifice of a small lamb' would be something like "vitualamen de lectulus agna". Now if "Lmus Ti Kay Mithog Il O" is Classical Latin or Ancient Roman, which I don't speak, then I guess we would have to be asking someone who was around during those times, like Jesus. After all, we DO know that "Mary had a little lamb."

I bet if you asked a small lamb if he/she wanted to be sacrified, they would not be O.K., OK, or Okay with it-- no matter how you spelled it!

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I suspect some as yet impenetrable (phonetic? wordplay? backslang? an homage to the purported "Orl Korrect"?) joke hides in Teddy God's comment since there is no "k" or "th" in Latin, and as Martini On Rye points out, that was utterly not Latin... but if it's too impenetrable, "smug" would be a better description than "pompous"!

However, here's a thought - the ubiquity of this expression worldwide may be precisely because - "coincidentally" or synchronistically, a little amusing trick born of the implicate & explicate - it has ALL of these origins in the many numerous languages and origins mentioned, and so has manifested in ways upon which Greek philosophers and chaos theorists would agree... the same sound has essentially the same meaning all over the world, for reasons either as explicable as why young babies call mothers "m.." something, or as weird that Geordie miners (from NE England) and many Chinese speaking in English in Singapore and elsewhere use the term "la" to address someone they don't know, as in "Hey, la"; or why a minor chord sounds sad; or why head shaking/nodding (ok, mostly) means no/yes. Some sort of fundamental, imprinted archetype about the way we hear, process and interpret sounds...

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Haha k/

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y dos evary1 even care anywayz? its just a stopid word lol

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What if your name was "Ok" and everyone said it okay, when it was really pronounced OOOKKK....then you wouldn't have a name and it wouldn't really be okay either, because you write ok thinking it's ok and everyone says okay instead of ok.

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"We arrived OK" notation in the hand-written diary of a traveller going from Boston to New Orleans in 1815.

The Choctaw Expression "Okeh"
and the Americanism "Okay"

Jim Fay, Ph.D.
7/14/07
Abstract: The etymology of "'OK" based on the Choctaw "okeh" that was cited in dictionaries well into the twentieth century, and how that etymology came to be replaced by one formulated by Allen Read.
http://www.illinoisprairie.info/chocokeh.htm

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AnWulf, great referenced article... the reasons cited for the de facto suppression of a Choctaw origin make good sense.

Still, I like to consider this all supports the larger idea that this syllablic couplet is an archetypal sound. This would be based on the disparate and ubiquitous nature of the phonetic expression, which regardless of its local, logical and linguistic origins worldwide, has nonetheless conveyed concepts similar to the modern "OK", however we write it.

Pyscho-acoustics research (a professor at UCSD or SDSU, reference misplaced for the moment) has shown several such archetypal patterns regarding the use of specific tone sequences in vocalization to express approval, reproach, etc., regardless of language, in mothers talking to their children, worldwide. So it wouldn't be so surprising to find that other globally-recognized patterns of meaning occur with other types of uttered sound combinations - and if so, that "Oh-Kay" (deliberately "misspelt") exhibits strong candidacy for such.

Even tossing out some of the more fanciful ones, it is striking that the list of possible etymologies is so long... the stuff of Chaos Theory - profound underlying patterns of order revealed via the observation of superficial attributes...

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Wow... so many theories... Okay, here's my thoughts.

1. Old Kinderhook, even though that used the initials, could not have been the actual origination of OK if they used the "all right" definition for their campaign.
2. There are no wars without deaths. 0 Kills, simple as it sounds, can't work.

3. Does anyone recall Occam's Razor? The simplest explanation is always the most likely to be true. I respect those from Turkey, but the "arrow" into the "moon" with the moon being a target, and the OK meaning the arrow hit the center, seems a little bit too complicated for a reasonable explanation, in my opinion.

I really think it's either "Oll Korrect" or "Ola Kala", though "Oll Korrect" seems a bit complex as well. As simple as Choctaw "Okeh" is, Native American speech doesn't make it into common usage in the English language in any other notable instance that I know of. Therefore, I lean more towards the Greek theory. But of course, this is simply my opinion.

Note that I'm an American. I, at least, am not choosing the one closest to my own roots in an attempt to elevate my importance.

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The compelling point for me is the date of the earliest record WRITTEN of the word. I think 1815 is well before any large Greek immigration. And I think we can believe that it was being said well before that. Most of our Greek rooted words are from ancient Greek via Latin (the Romans borrowed heavily from the Greeks), the Church (the New Testament was written in Greek), or thru science ... not so much from "modern" Greek.

English has many words of ur-native upspringing ... from tomahawk, squaw, moccasin, teepee to more common words like quonset (quonset huts), opossum, raccoon, hickory, squash ... and many more.

Think about how eathly OK, okay, okeh has spread to other tungs from English. It is such a useful word. I'v been to many parts of the word and a person may not kno English but most kno the word OK.

So I'm going with the Choctaw root, which to me is the simplest one, unless someone can come up with something more compelling for how it shows up as early as 1815.

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Hmm... Good points, AnWulf. I hadn't even thought of all those words, nor the chronological dates. I suppose that's one of the hazards of being online late at night - your mind is dulled. In any case, with all that taken into account, "Okeh" is by far the simplest theory of origin: Somebody who was learning the Choctaw language started using it, then it caught on and other people started using it.

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From the Greek shipping industry ... the story goes that inspectors would stamp documents OK meaning ola kala .... everthing good.

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@Talvieno ... It wasn't from a few folks learning Choctow. Back in the early 1800s, Choctaw was the lingua franca among the Indians that region ... Remember, much of Southeast beyond the mountains was sparsely settled ... I think Memphis was founded in 1815. So the settlers would have had extensive dealings with the Choctaws themselves as well as the language ... It is such a useful word that it passed into English.

@Cdw ... the ola kala theory falls short in many respects. First, as I noted above, it doesn't fit the timeline.

Second, OK began in the US. If it were from Greek shipping documents, it would have been in widespread use umbe the world before being spread by Americans.

Third ... J.F.W. Dorman is said to have been the first to actually commercialize the making of rubber stamps in 1865 ... Some 50 years after the first recorded use of OK so the Greeks couldn't hav been stamping "OK" before that ... so again, it fails the timeline.

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Perhaps it doesn't just come from one place. Maybe Greeks did mark things as O.K. Or OK and maybe people also took the word okeh and spelled it "okay" and so on, and they all just happened to mean nearly the same thing so we think it comes from a single origin

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"Ok" seems to be the word: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ok

I believe "okay" is colloquial speech used in written dialogue. Like in a novel.

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