Am I using that word OK?

You can still find people arguing online that OK derives from Choctaw or from Andrew Jackson’s bad spelling, but Metcalf duly relies upon the dust-settling scholarship of Allen Walker Read, whose extensive reading in 19th-century newspapers established that the first use of OK in print, in The Boston Morning Post of March 23, 1839, was a joke: “o.k. — all correct.”

Such misspelling-based abbreviations were a fad. An earlier effort, “o.w.,” for “oll wright,” failed to catch on, whereas OK has gone globally viral.

That is Roy Blount Jr. reviewing an entire book on the history of the word O.K.

Glad to see the great minds of the English language are dedicating themselves to important pursuits.

6 thoughts on “Am I using that word OK?

  1. A blog post about a review of a book about the word “Ok”
    Nothing better than that!
    (Unless it’s a comment on a blog post about a review of a book about the word “Ok”)

  2. I think it would be interesting to write a book just on all the towns etc with the initials O.K. that actually DIDN’T think they are the origin for the phrase. I wonder if there are there any…? I assume everyone with those initials have local lore or stories about being the route of the phrase.
    I grew up thinking OK originated from my mom’s town of Old Kinderhook, NY, which I was told was used as a code by Martin Van Buren (also from Kinderhook) on Presidential documents. And later became popularized.
    I wonder why some towns claim authorship and some don’t, and what percentage of towns with the initials OK do and don’t have a story linking them to the phrase. Hmm….