Tuesday, 2 June 2009

It´s O.K. to use O.K. !

Of all the new words to issue from the New World, the quintessential Americanism without any doubt was O.K. Arguably American´s single greatest gift to international discourse, O.K. is the most grammatically versatile of words, able to serve as an adjective ("Lunch was O.K"), verb ("Can you O.K. this for me?"), noun ("I need your O.K. on this"), interjection ("O.K., I hear you"), and adverb ("We did O.K.").

Selected from Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson


  1. Did you know the origin of O.K. ?
    One of the possible origins of this abbreviation is
    the use to depict a battle which ended without dead soldiers (during the American Civil War). It would be OK (ZERO KILLS).


  2. @Helio

    Hi Helio,
    How do you find out such things?
    Any secret sources?
    Care to share?


  3. Hi Chris:

    This one I found out long time I go and
    it amused me so much that I've kept it.


  4. @Helio

    Hi dear,

    Guess what I heard yesterday? "O.K." means "all correct". What do you make of it?

    Bye for now,

  5. Hi everybody!! It´s a very nice blog!!!

    There are many theories for the origin of the term. The most accepted is the American professor Allen Walker Read of Columbia University, explained in an article published in the journal 'American Speech' in 1963 and 1964. OK is the abbreviation of 'orl correct”, a well-humored and distorted the 'all correct' (fine) used for the first time the newspapers of Boston in the summer of 1838 - at the time, using abbreviations common in the media was satirical . The term was popularized in 1840 in the campaign of Democratic president Martin Van Buren (1782-1862). As his nickname was' Old Kinderhook '(or' Old Kinderhook ', referring to his hometown), the OK symbol received double sense.
    I read that in the Galileu Magazine.

    Bye for now!

  6. Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org) is usually a good source for general information on things. Interestingly enought, just one of these days I learned of this meaning Helio mentioned. So, reading this post now made me head to Wikipedia and there's a bunch of possible origins for "okay". You can check it out here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okay

  7. Felipe and Helio,
    The other day one of my students came up with the origin of the word Teddy Bear, which I founded pretty interesting. Well, I didn't check but, acoording to her it was something amasing that Theodore Roosevelt has done or said. Afterwards all soft toys bears were called Teddy bear.Maybe, it's better if I research this and give a more detailed and completed explanation.

  8. @Andréa:
    Here ya go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teddy_bear