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Country Discussion Topics
To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

OK, O.K., okay, okey, okeh
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~Lenore    Posted 09-04-2004 at 13:51:41       [Reply]  [No Email]

I was thinking... about the word OK....

wORD OF THE WEEK

OK's origins1 were long a subject of heated debate, with claims ranging from "only kissing" to "Orrin Kendall" (crackers). After 20 years or so of research, Columbia University professor Allen Walker Read finally traced OK to an 1839 article in the Boston Morning Post. Apparently, it was a cutesy acronym of the tongue-in-cheek or erroneous spelling "oll korrect" for "all correct." The acronym was picked up for Martin Van Buren's 1840 presidential campaign--giving it the additional meaning of "Old Kinderhook." (President Van Buren hailed from Kinderhook, New York.)

OK is considered to be the most widely understood American expression in the world.1
But is it OK to use OK? (and is it OK, O.K., okay, or okey?)

It is all right (by the way, many grammarians consider "alright" to be all wrong) to use OK in informal speech or writing. However, the expression is considered casual, or conversational, and (like contractions) it should not be used in formal writing.

OK is recognized and used worldwide in all of its various forms: OK (20,000 Usenet documents in AltaVista--some for Oklahoma), O.K. (5000 ), okay (8000), okey (500), oke (200--some parts of names or products, but some definitely instead of OK), and okeh (97). The third edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary--Tenth Edition list the form OK first.

OK is used as
a verb meaning "approve"
Would you OK my vacation request?

an adverb or adjective meaning "all right"
She'll manage OK on her own.
The movie was OK.

a noun meaning "approval" or "agreement"
The reviewers gave their OK to his submission.

and an interjection meaning "all right" or "yes"
OK, where were we?
(often used to introduce a point of contention meaning "I accept what you've said to a certain extent")
OK, but have you considered . . .


So, go ahead and use OK, but not in your report, presentation, or journal article, okeydokey?

By the way, okeydokey (or okeydoke) is a derivative of OK, as is A-OK, which was often heard before and during early U.S. spaceflights.

1Bryson, B.: Made in America--An Informal History of the English Language in the United States. William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 1994, pp. 71-72, 205.



bill b va    Posted 09-04-2004 at 16:14:28       [Reply]  [No Email]

OK


Hi Lenore................    Posted 09-04-2004 at 14:39:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
Very definitive study Professor.LOL I fancy myself a student of the common mans approach to the maiming of the English language. I do enjoy the use of OK,and Okay interchangeably as it cuts through a lot of c--p. I've been known to create entirely new words if the occasion arises.
And i do readily admit my American is better than my English language. By the way do you remember Norm Crosby. Master language butcher?


~Lenore    Posted 09-04-2004 at 15:58:58       [Reply]  [No Email]

The name rang a bell but I needed a face to go with it. yes I seem to remember seeing him on TV way back when, a comedian, wansn't he?


Len....NY    Posted 09-05-2004 at 01:10:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
Norm was frequently seen on Ed Sullivan's show as well as the Dean Martin show. Circa 60's & 70's.
Stand up comedy,no mean stuff or cuss words. Malapropisim is what it's called, I guess. In those days,peppering a conversation with a few well placed "mals",could be very funny. Today,????? Probably think one is unedumacated. Go figger.


Len    Posted 09-04-2004 at 14:42:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
Oh! yeah, that was me.Len....NY


George in TX    Posted 09-04-2004 at 14:37:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
Nice article Lenore and good research on your part. I always thought it was pronounced "Hokay" and being a fellow suthner I'll bet you've pronounced it that way yourself.

How's your neighbor doing today? I think you're such a dear for taking care of her the way you do. And I'm sure you'll get your well deserved reward too one of these days.


~Lenore..(slightly politi    Posted 09-04-2004 at 15:30:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
No, geo, I never did pronounce it that way.
I spoke very proper "American" till I moved to Texas;
now I sound just like a native (and proud of it). LOL
To me President Bush speaks just fine,
Of course when God speaks to me, He speaks Texan, too.
It is just a quirk of my mind, after a brief respite I said to myself, "OK what should I do now?". Myself thought okay is an unusual word and then it became necessary for me to find it's origin or let it bug me indefinitely.
I guess I should have put "slightly political" in the title;
after all it did mention a presidential campaign. Guess I slipped that one by.
OOps! I did it again, I mentioned President Bush.


Doc    Posted 09-05-2004 at 02:37:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
OK, that's way to much information, alright?


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