Why we say “OK”

  • Published on Sep 12, 2018
  • How a cheesy joke from the 1830s became the most widely spoken word in the world.
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    OK is thought to be the most widely recognized word on the planet. We use it to communicate with each other, as well as our technology. But it actually started out as a language fad in the 1830’s of abbreviating words incorrectly.
    Young intellectuals in Boston came up with several of these abbreviations, including “KC” for “knuff ced,” “OW” for “oll wright,” and KY for “know yuse.” But thanks to its appearance in Martin Van Buren’s 1840 presidential re-election campaign as the incumbents new nickname, Old Kinderhook, OK outlived its abbreviated comrades.
    Later, widespread use by early telegraph operators caused OK to go mainstream, and its original purpose as a neutral affirmative is still how we use it today.
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Comments • 9 499

  • Vox
    Vox  2 months ago +5398

    Another popular false origin of OK comes from the American Civil War (1861-1865) which says that soldiers returning from battle would report "0K" (zero killed). And there's a few from around the world, too. Like the Greek "όλα καλά (óla kalá) which means "all good," the Scottish "och aye," which means "oh yes," and even a French-named seaport in Haiti, Aux Cayes. While these are all pretty interesting and might indicate why "OK" was so easily adapted into language worldwide, none of them can actually be traced in their influence the way "oll korrect" can. Neat. - Coleman

    • Mikeeyguy26 264
      Mikeeyguy26 264 2 days ago

      Just to let you know, "ok" is spelled "okay" it's a four letter word, not two

    • ion
      ion 12 days ago


    • VaanDamn E.
      VaanDamn E. Month ago

      I think Vox got the Morse Code wrong. A quick search shows that "O" is "..." not ".." at 2:44 can you double check?

    • Mikrofonlar Kralarına Cevaplar
      Mikrofonlar Kralarına Cevaplar Month ago

      +nikos papadopoulos
      Turks are ancestors of Anglosaxons, Bulgarians, Hungarians..
      Black or Blue eyed black, blond and red haired warrior nation aiming to establish a one/a world state coming from East and Middle Asia rolling into all Europe, Scandinavia, Britain.. carrying their linguistic ancestary too: Attila and Mete Khans are key historical figures to meet the link.
      Nevertheless more than %50 Finnish vocabulary where being of Turkish language origin, especially many English words are considerably or very directly are same or their structures are of same consonants. As for German.. their history includes an era of defness and thonglesness. So they articulating the words with more hardship asin much strongness or strength.. where also word variations are more and with much of spree from the authentic Asian backgrounds (Asian Turkish) in comparison to the English.
      I know Turkish and English.. and can easily see the linguistic characteristics intersections in their authentic progeny and what we read in history thar took place with the actions of Attila and Mete Khans explain the how, why questionaries.. and terms are easily explicit to those are well educated in history and structures of langusges issues. Even today.. the vowels at times driving some into hardship, especially those who are not aware of the authentic stances of English and Turkish, about comprehension/configuring of the very same wordalites of the two languages. And for sure there is an issue of rule of change of articulations and meaning variations as one issue at first fir many academicians.. but.. though even in 70s these rules have been written are cited in encyclopedias.. (like Larousse) the cultural exploitation age has not left a place or time for these serious realities be seen by most. The postmodern age is destroying the reality of all humanity along with healthy sex stances, concept of family, ecosystems, cultures.. thar us not a surprise one to get overwhelmed by hearing the English-German-Bulgarian-Turk relations be it by ancestory or linguistically.

    • 83jwilson
      83jwilson Month ago

      Vox Your Morse code was a bit off...

  • sp ts
    sp ts 4 minutes ago +1

    This story is not true ....the story goes back to a place in Greece which the are shipping protect for the eupore and the forced to every box to be checked before shipping and because they wanted to be faster they short the phrase " ολα καλα " which means "everything is fine" to O.K. ...... Check that vox

  • Patthew Savants
    Patthew Savants 40 minutes ago

    dat part

  • Carlos Valencia
    Carlos Valencia 55 minutes ago


  • Rossana Parejo
    Rossana Parejo Hour ago

    I learned this from the movie " Silver Linings playbook"

  • The Ok Church
    The Ok Church Hour ago


  • Dark Modern
    Dark Modern 7 hours ago

    Nope, its an american term we gained from native american linguistics, like lasso. It derives from the shortened word "hokay" You can see it in Mark Twain. Its from the Oklahoma region of tribes, along with Heya/Heyahoka which became "Hey" over the years. I wouldnt be suprised if the news articles you sourced were published by people eager to anglicize mative american culture that was too indelible to eradicate. Early truthspeak.

  • turquoise770
    turquoise770 12 hours ago


  • Victor Mançur
    Victor Mançur 13 hours ago

    How can I help with subtitles? I'm from Brazil and I love this channel, but I can't share with my friends or the community 'cause most Brazilians doesn't know English.

  • Rana Ram
    Rana Ram 13 hours ago

    Ok Jaanu

  • Aiden Banana
    Aiden Banana 13 hours ago +1


  • its_a_trab
    its_a_trab 18 hours ago

    Fun fact, we say ok in dutch too. Idk about other languages but we say it in holland

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Day ago


  • Marshall Zane
    Marshall Zane Day ago

    Weird flex but *oll korrect*

  • Carleigh The toad


  • 4ftershock
    4ftershock Day ago

    An "O" is 3 dashes, not 2 dots.

  • Aꙅꙅ dAↄkwAᴙbꙅ

    Well, the Bloods replace their C's to B's and the Crips change their B's to C's. Trying to remember that would drive me brazy.

  • Mighty Hacker
    Mighty Hacker Day ago

    Ok this is epic

  • alex leon
    alex leon Day ago


  • John Borden
    John Borden Day ago

    You mean to tell me that cheeky hipsters from Boston started all of this?

    KUUDA Day ago


  • AbOoOd 1221
    AbOoOd 1221 Day ago +1

    Why we say why

  • Sabrina M
    Sabrina M Day ago


  • Michal Nemecek
    Michal Nemecek Day ago

    I thought OK came from Of Course (K because Course is pronounced with a K sound)

  • Michal Nemecek
    Michal Nemecek Day ago

    I thought OK came from Of Course (K because Course is pronounced with a K sound

  • Mushroom of Misfortune

    All Correct = Oll Korrect = Okay = Ok = k

    (Thus I give Thee evolution)

  • Morgan James
    Morgan James Day ago


  • me llamo Jeff
    me llamo Jeff 2 days ago


  • Nick Slayr Music
    Nick Slayr Music 2 days ago


  • JesusLемus
    JesusLемus 2 days ago


  • Bobby Robles
    Bobby Robles 2 days ago +1


  • I’m Bored
    I’m Bored 2 days ago

    During this video I kept saying ok 😂💀🤷‍♀️

  • Cerise Min
    Cerise Min 2 days ago

    Why okay?

  • dddaizy
    dddaizy 2 days ago +1

    0:04 goddamn it

  • Omar Cruz
    Omar Cruz 2 days ago


  • SeeingFire
    SeeingFire 2 days ago


  • ɢᴀʟᴀxʏ ɢᴀᴍɪɴɢ :3

    When my Mom calls me
    Me: Hello....yes
    Me: Ok
    Me: Ok
    Me: Ok
    Me: Ok
    Me: Ok
    Me: Ok
    Me: Bye

  • Gabriela Glennda
    Gabriela Glennda 2 days ago

    no wonder the Kardashian gains all the attention

  • Κωνσταντίνος Χρυσοστόμου

    Actually it originates from the British and the Greeks when doing trade, the Greeks would write OK on cargo boxes (short for Όλα Καλά = Óla Kalá= all good/ everything is good- indirect translation ). The British obviously read it O-K and that’s how the abréviation was born.

  • Giovanni Striano
    Giovanni Striano 2 days ago

    Weird flex but ok

  • Brendan Sullivan
    Brendan Sullivan 2 days ago

    you had the chance to end the video with "OK guys cut it out" and u missed it

  • Billion EP Purba
    Billion EP Purba 2 days ago

    It infuriates me how you guys didn't include the reference of "Ok" in the fault in our Stars.

  • kenry landers
    kenry landers 2 days ago

    weird flex, but *ok*

  • GGalaxySnip Galactic


  • Willyosk 777
    Willyosk 777 2 days ago


  • Lazy Roll
    Lazy Roll 2 days ago


  • Sally Shoaf
    Sally Shoaf 2 days ago

    So basically the popularization of OK has to do with a r/fellowkids

  • Noah L
    Noah L 2 days ago +1

    Ok not okay

  • That Guy
    That Guy 2 days ago

    0:16 Wow. I literally can't believe Vox thinks the OK hand sign is ok. It's aactually a white supremacist literally hitler hand sign. Jail anyone that replies to this

  • Crochet With Ayden
    Crochet With Ayden 2 days ago

    Isn’t it annoying when people comment the same thing as you and they get thousands of likes and you get none?

  • This Girl
    This Girl 3 days ago


  • Banana Are Awesome
    Banana Are Awesome 3 days ago

    I thought it was for okay

  • Justin H
    Justin H 3 days ago

    Whenever you go to a website, if the page loads the server returned a "200 OK" HTTP Status code. So even computers say "OK."

  • Zach Kaiell
    Zach Kaiell 3 days ago

    Worst pet shop. ever.

  • tobzmiyagi
    tobzmiyagi 3 days ago

    I don't buy it

  • gucci squidward
    gucci squidward 3 days ago

    I thought it was a short version of okay

  • G. B.
    G. B. 3 days ago

    Micha chahta anumpa anumpoli li :-) I speak Choctaw. Chahta sia hoke. I am Choctaw. Ok is a Choctaw word.

  • painedumonde
    painedumonde 3 days ago

    So AOK?

  • Jason Randolph
    Jason Randolph 3 days ago

    Mortal Kombat

  • MysticBlast3r26
    MysticBlast3r26 3 days ago

    this is so sad, *alexa* play despacito

  • Abhay Nadayil
    Abhay Nadayil 3 days ago

    Ok Jaanu

  • Shriya Sista
    Shriya Sista 3 days ago


  • Haiyan Karbelkar
    Haiyan Karbelkar 3 days ago +1

    The video was ok

  • 30secondstomarsMBH
    30secondstomarsMBH 3 days ago

    And now we just say K. I love humanity sometimes!!!!

  • Padsy Waps
    Padsy Waps 3 days ago


  • Rahul Balan
    Rahul Balan 3 days ago

    So when did we start adding "ay" to "ok"?

  • Thieving Peppers
    Thieving Peppers 3 days ago

    The meme that will never die

  • Autumn's Child
    Autumn's Child 4 days ago +1

    But like... I screamed when Gerard said Okay 😝

  • Rishi Patel
    Rishi Patel 4 days ago


  • Rishi Patel
    Rishi Patel 4 days ago


  • The Boy’s Club
    The Boy’s Club 4 days ago


  • CXLE
    CXLE 4 days ago

    Crazy that this company was made by a literal white supremacist

  • Charles Mcdermid
    Charles Mcdermid 4 days ago

    I always spell it okay

  • Dorian Emin-Jeong
    Dorian Emin-Jeong 4 days ago +1


  • pandaroc1
    pandaroc1 4 days ago

    Okkkk 🤷🏽‍♂️

  • deathcamel
    deathcamel 4 days ago

    Worst pet shop. Ever.

  • -Gemberkoekje-
    -Gemberkoekje- 4 days ago

    I thought It was "Are you walking Annie"

  • -Gemberkoekje-
    -Gemberkoekje- 4 days ago


  • Grecia Urcadiz
    Grecia Urcadiz 4 days ago


  • ReachSkyla
    ReachSkyla 4 days ago

    No one punch man reference?

  • ReachSkyla
    ReachSkyla 4 days ago

    The strongest meme in history

  • Tami Cohen
    Tami Cohen 4 days ago

    Krusty Krab

  • Stephen Shields
    Stephen Shields 4 days ago

    We did not go to the moon

  • BrazenBullXXX
    BrazenBullXXX 4 days ago

    Memes live forever.

  • Mrs. Hi
    Mrs. Hi 4 days ago +1

    OK, thanks,

  • Dude Gamers
    Dude Gamers 4 days ago


  • Anonymous 123
    Anonymous 123 4 days ago

    Of course it was in Boston

  • mysterious blue guy
    mysterious blue guy 4 days ago

    me: weird flex but -ok- _oll korrect_

  • Mike Limon
    Mike Limon 4 days ago


  • 12
    12 4 days ago


  • TriplM
    TriplM 4 days ago

    Ok then

  • Bubb a
    Bubb a 4 days ago


  • Clement
    Clement 5 days ago

    So it all came from a meme in the 1800s?

    The power of memes yall

  • Jason Perez
    Jason Perez 5 days ago

    Weird flex but ok

  • Kieroni Reikets
    Kieroni Reikets 5 days ago

    This has made me suffer from semantic saturation.

  • Hanson
    Hanson 5 days ago +1


  • Daria Wells
    Daria Wells 5 days ago

    Using Stella as an example = amazeballs.