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The History of the Most Common Word OK

The History of the Most Common Word OK

Nowadays, the word OK has already become the most frequently used word that has penetrated almost every language worldwide. Additionally, it has become a universal element, which all computer program interfaces use. Since this word sounds the same in all the languages, it is easily perceived in every corner of our globe. Interestingly enough, this word has a fascinating history. Before it gained its popularity, it existed simply in the form of a joke. Believe it or not, the word OK used to be a fashionable language misunderstanding until it got its modern meaning.

Back to the Origins

More than a hundred and fifty years ago, the word OK appeared in English. In the 1830s, in Boston, there used to be a fashion to deliberately distort different words. Thus, different funny cuts were created out of these distorted words, for example, oll wright instead of all right, oll korrect instead of all correct, etc. Most likely, it wouldn’t have been remembered if not an accidental coincidence. Firstly, the 8th president of the USA had the nickname, which was Old Kinderhook. Consequently, there were a lot of posters such as “Vote for OK”. Secondly, according to the rumors, President Jackson signed government documents with OK, because he had problems with spelling. Undoubtedly, all these rumors were groundless, but, due to them, the word OK was firmly established in colloquial American.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the word OK stopped to be the slang of the illiterate ones. It began to appear in secular talks, business conversations, and in the speech of the educated citizens of America. In a few decades, this word started its fascinating journey through other languages of our planet.

What does the Word OK Express?

Undoubtedly, there are various ways of expressing approval in the English language, aren’t there? However, the word OK has taken a unique niche in terms of endorsement, since it has a neutral connotation. Even Hollywood cinema is built on this value of OK. Regardless of what happens to the hero, the first question to check on him/her will be “Are you OK?”. Even though it sounds ridiculous, it is actually the first thing that typically comes to your mind in real life.

No Objections

OK is also used in the sense of agreeing or not objecting. The popular expression to be OK with something can be heard in various conversations. For instance:

The boss wasn’t OK with our suggestion to open a new office in New Orleans.

Gesture OK

Additionally to the word OK, a gesture OK is also a part of modern communication. If you want to show it, you simply need to connect your thumb and index fingers in the form of the ring. Unlike the word, the gesture is less used throughout the world, since every culture has its own non-verbal gestures. Keep in mind, it is even recommended not using the gesture OK in some countries, particularly in Turkey, since it is perceived as a sign of threat there.

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