Ok, not to be contrary, but anyone else worry that we may be getting punked here?
Is Coleman Lowndes’ clever collage-style video on the ubiquity and origins of the word “ok” a bit too clever for its own good?
His assertion that the word “ok” was the invention of waggish Bostonian hipsters in the late 1830s sounds like an Onion headline.
It’s hard to believe that clever young adults once amused themselves by bandying about deliberately misspelled abbreviations.
Also does anyone else remember hearing that “OK” could be traced to the 1840 reelection campaign of President Martin “Old Kinderhook” Van Buren?
Both of those explanations sound a lot more probable than a jokey bastardization of “all correct.”
Aka “oll korrect.”
As in OK, pal, whatever you say.
(That was the wittiest jape of the season?)
(The writer noted, as Lowndes does, how “ok” was among the first words out of astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s mouth when he set foot on the moon.)
If you’d like to know more, you can always delve into English professor Allan Metcalf”s book, OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word, which cites the telegraph’s role in the popularization of everyone’s favorite neutral affirmative, as well as our powerful psychological attraction to the letter “k.”
(Kare for a Krispy Kreme with that Kool-Aid? … The answer is an emphatic yes, I mean, OK, in any language.)
Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Join her in NYC on Monday, September 24 for another monthly installment of her book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday.
Why We Say “OK”: The History of the Most Widely Spoken Word in the World is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooks, Free Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.
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