BACANA MAGAZINE hotel occidental punta cana
BACANA MAGAZINE hotel occidental punta cana
BACANA MAGAZINE hotel occidental punta cana
BACANA MAGAZINE hotel occidental punta cana
OK

What is the meaning of OK? The mystery of its origin

Currently no one is surprised to hear the word OK in a sentence. It is a widely used term and in all languages equivalent to “I agree” or “it’s fine”. It is strange to hear Dominicans say OK numerous times throughout the day. But its widespread use cannot ignore the fact that it is one of the most mysterious words as to its origin is concerned. There are many versions, some more accepted than others, on its etymology.

Currently no one is surprised to hear the word OK in a sentence. It is a widely used term and in all languages equivalent to “I agree” or “it’s fine”. It is strange to hear Dominicans say OK numerous times throughout the day. But its widespread use cannot ignore the fact that it is one of the most mysterious words as to its origin is concerned. There are many versions, some more accepted than others, on its etymology.

An early version effers to OK as being used during the American Civil War to note that there were 0 killed or no casualties, when returning from the battlefield. Another one is that the term that the natives of the Choctaw Tribe (South America) employed to signal that all was well.

IRONIC USE

It was in March 1839 when the letters OK first appeared in print in the Boston Morning Post used in an ironic way, something very common in that newspaper. This version is one of the most popular, as well as the one which points out that the term OK endured through time thanks to the U.S. presidential campaign of 1840, in which Martin Van Buren, better known by the name of Old Kinderhook, because he came from this town, opted for reelection.

But perhaps one of the names most associated with the term OK is the etymologist and lexicographer Allen Walker Read, recognized for his efforts to study the origin of the term. It was he who found, in 1963, the word OK in the Boston Morning Post published on March 23, 1839. In the text, next to OK appeared the clarification “all correct”.

 

OTHER VERSIONS

These are not the only versions that exist about the origin of the term. There are those who suggest that this is not an American word, but that it comes from the German, Scottish, Finnish, French, or even Greek. Another possible etymology points to the word OK as meaning “oll korrect”, wrong way to write “all correct”.

There are also versions in which the letters OK refer to specific names of people. This is the case of the head of quality control of the Ford Company, Otto Kaiser, although there are different versions of this story, some suggest that the company was Mercedes Benz. Another story is the name of Oscar Kevin, one of the best telegraphs at the time of the Morse code. It was said that he was so good that his messages were correct.

Posting versions we cannot overlook the one pointing to OK as the opposite of KO (knocked out in the language used in boxing).

In short it is a widely used term whose origin is unclear. This does not stop Dominicans, or the rest of the world, from using the word daily. What is clear is that the word OK is used to show compliance with something or to indicate that something has been done correctly.

TEXT: Almudena Haddad y Esther Navas IMAGES: Archivo
TEXT: Marta Marcos IMAGES: Suresh

Tags: Did you know

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