Why we say “OK”

Published on Sep 12, 2018
How a cheesy joke from the 1830s became the most widely spoken word in the world.
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OK is thought to be the most widely recognized word on the planet. We use it to communicate with each other, as well as our technology. But it actually started out as a language fad in the 1830’s of abbreviating words incorrectly.
Young intellectuals in Boston came up with several of these abbreviations, including “KC” for “knuff ced,” “OW” for “oll wright,” and KY for “know yuse.” But thanks to its appearance in Martin Van Buren’s 1840 presidential re-election campaign as the incumbents new nickname, Old Kinderhook, OK outlived its abbreviated comrades.
Later, widespread use by early telegraph operators caused OK to go mainstream, and its original purpose as a neutral affirmative is still how we use it today.
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  • Another popular false origin of OK comes from the American Civil War (1861-1865) which says that soldiers returning from battle would report "0K" (zero killed). And there's a few from around the world, too. Like the Greek "όλα καλά (óla kalá) which means "all good," the Scottish "och aye," which means "oh yes," and even a French-named seaport in Haiti, Aux Cayes. While these are all pretty interesting and might indicate why "OK" was so easily adapted into language worldwide, none of them can actually be traced in their influence the way "oll korrect" can. Neat. - Coleman

    • +Mikrofonlar Kralarına Cevaplar cheeel 😂

    • By

    • OH KAY

    • Ok

    • I thought for years it came from the Lakota Sioux tribe Hokay Hey meaning "a good day to die Now it appears I was badly mistaken

  • But when did O.K. start getting spelled okay?

  • VOX,always OK.

  • O.K also used during World War I as "Zero Killed"..

  • Thats why Mortal KOMBAT starts with a K

  • 5:14 oll wright guys kut it aut

  • What about the OK corral? Has nothing to do with the origins?

  • Like texting

  • all correct would be like AK not OK... ive heard it comes from the greek ολα καλα= OK

  • finaallyyyyy someones explains this mystery of life

  • weird flex, but ok

  • Holy crap!!! A homestar runner cameo!?!?!? Those videos were freakin epic!!! Strongbad emails for the win!!!

  • Look at your hand when you make the OK sign. It is an "O" and a "K". By Occam's razor, that's where it comes from. First the hand signal, and then the word OK.

  • 1800's meme

  • is that how the KKK grew?

  • I’m always impressed by the amount of historical newspapers and artifacts Vox throws into these videos, given how prolific they are at making them.

  • Worst pet shop. Ever.

  • 4:27 Charles Boyle?

  • Petition to start pronouncing it "awk"

  • Okay ~~ buddy ~~~

  • ok

  • 👌🏼👌🏼👌🏼

  • We are controlled through symbolism.

  • nah it means "Oatmeal Kookies"

  • So there is a bunch of rumours how the word came to be and in this video they just claim to have the only right answer without any proof. I'm not saying I don't believe this version, I even want it to be true. That it evolved from a literal 19th century meme, but you can't just bring up "myths" about the origin while not explaining how your story must be the correct one. Vox always has high production value and seems credible but they ironically often lack sources and evidence.

  • AC

  • 0:05 wArN fiRsT I wAsN’t rEaDy

  • So it's a 200 year old meme. Ok then.

  • *O* ll *K* orrect

  • Video starts at 0:36

  • google assistent kept on firing

  • I mean .. ok I guess

  • I love that Strongbad was used in this. Real og

  • Kk

  • Kraft was just the last name of the company's founder.

  • So where did the spelling "okay" come from?

  • OK is OLL KORRECT!!!

  • Weird flex but •• -•-

  • "Alright guys, cut it out" Lol

  • *OK*

  • K

  • Is that why the Kardashian’s names start with a K?

  • I did a OK study in college found several historical origins. No one can take claim to it. Its ancient.

  • the letter C mad asl right now

  • Ok but why do some people spell it 'okay'?

  • Ok

  • I live in Iraq and people use it here as a part of slang. And I didn't expect it to be used so often.

  • Ok

  • knock out

  • Okay

  • Okay

  • Oke: I'M NOT OK

  • Okie Diddly Okie

  • Always thought it meant oll klear - All clear.

  • Is it Okay? Or OK?

  • When correct was spelled with a K... why did we change it though?

  • Ola kala (greek) = all good :)

  • OK

  • I feel attacked

  • 1830s hipsters started it. OK. 😂 👌🏻

  • I can't swim I can't dance and i don't know karate Face it we got *that feeling* suddenly after seeing them...

  • Oh god Did i just see mcr After all this time...

  • but where did the ok hand sing come from

  • Ok 👍

  • My guess was "Oll Klear"

  • If you think about it, the word OK can trace itself to the Scandinavian languages, in the word ok (pronounced oo-kuh) which means the same thing.

  • Nice clip of the Stella shorts. Pretty obscure stuff. Awesome!

  • Is the k in ok suppose to be capital or lowercase, I use a certain keyboard with a font I like but it always capitalizes the k in ok and its a bother to fix it 😕

  • You didn't address why it started off as "oll korrect" instead of "all correct." Why isn't OK actually AC?

  • 👌

  • memes in the 1800s lasted long wow

  • I have not nor will I ever spell business names with a K. It is wrong. Spelling it as such violates the social contract and steals my fizzy lifting drinks. us-tv.org/tv/video-Hx8o7vpB9ho.html

  • Ok

  • Do y’all think big Chungus will survive 150 years?

  • Maarten van Buren 🇳🇱🇳🇱🇳🇱

  • every time you hear 'ok' take a shot

    • But low resolution holds/captures and shows 'hokus pokus' as "OK'us LOTus"! If you just use then a text to speech app you're forever done by your very MOBile! .. ;-)..

  • I find it funny how pompous people are towards new slang meanwhile not realizing most of the words we use today come from slang words

    • Pls WaLuigi Dom Me person: “that’s not a word, it’s made up!” Me: “where do you think every other word came from?”

  • I feel personally attacked by that inclusion of MCR’s I’m Not Okay why would you play with my heart like that?

  • weird flex but •• -•-

  • Ahem its “K”

  • They had memes back in the 1800’s lmao

  • Hey you wanna piss someone off? Just reply K whenever someone sents you a long message to u .

  • ahhh... yes. My Chemical Romance.

  • Okay? Okay?

  • But that explanation will give us KY

  • O.K should be called A.C so now it’s correct

  • ok

  • I was waiting for the african dude "'ho-ke"'

  • Kool

  • Ok 👍🏻

  • BOYLE?!?!

  • (.. _._) = IK 😧 (___ _._) = OK

  • Strong Bad!

  • ok

  • Oll Ryte

  • *_oK_*

  • Just watched Silver Linings Playbook and I don't know how to feel about this

  • K

  • Okokokoko o-k ook

  • I think what's really cool about the word "OK" is that it's not just used in English-the word exists in other languages too, including German, Japanese, Korean, and more. Of course, it's probably considered a borrowed word from English but it's still common, and I personally think that's really interesting to think about.