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 • 11 896

  • Vox
    Vox  Year ago +8350

    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

  • Fan of music
    Fan of music 2 hours ago +1


  • KirkLand Subscribe to me pls

    Saitama: ok

  • TNT
    TNT 4 hours ago

    KY means -Know Yuse- NoU

  • Cirtus Branch
    Cirtus Branch 6 hours ago

    Finally the meaning of life

  • So Uncivilized
    So Uncivilized 13 hours ago


  • Daniel Coetzee
    Daniel Coetzee 15 hours ago

    "Okay", that was "Kool" to know.

  • JUV GD
    JUV GD 15 hours ago

    Ok thanks for the info

  • Junior Sarpong
    Junior Sarpong 16 hours ago

    I say kk, never ok.

  • Calico Bunny
    Calico Bunny 18 hours ago

    So you’re telling me the word that’s recognized globally was a freaking meme used by my ancestors?

    Okay then.

  • Nazrul Islam
    Nazrul Islam 20 hours ago

    I didn't know about this channel. It's amazing and informative. Worth subscribing

  • Joseph Musa
    Joseph Musa 20 hours ago

    Now we use K

  • qaqsqw
    qaqsqw Day ago

    What's the deal with "okay"

  • Jamie Hudat
    Jamie Hudat Day ago +1

    Vox: OK
    Me, an intellectual: K

  • Kevin Ngomane
    Kevin Ngomane Day ago

    OK is actually okay though, explain this

  • C G
    C G Day ago

    Well OKAYYYY youtube

  • Jason Goodacre
    Jason Goodacre Day ago

    Overuse of the word has resulted in a dumbing down of the English language. A similar thing has happened with the word "like". Thank you America!!

  • Valeen Martinez
    Valeen Martinez Day ago


  • T H E C H I C H E N

    Me: K.

  • Galaxy Mint
    Galaxy Mint Day ago


  • 1dwendywu 1d
    1dwendywu 1d Day ago

    So basically everything I've ever known was an ancient meme.

  • Bela Bear
    Bela Bear Day ago


  • brownhaus815
    brownhaus815 2 days ago

    now quite often I just use. "K"

  • Liana H
    Liana H 2 days ago

    My Alexa went off 😂😂😂

  • Pankaj Biswakarma
    Pankaj Biswakarma 2 days ago

    So OK went viral during 1800... 🤔

  • JA ME
    JA ME 2 days ago +1

    I love how youtube is awnsering all the questions i never had😂😭

  • V V
    V V 2 days ago


  • Alquimista
    Alquimista 2 days ago

    OK, I have a new topic to break awkward silences in social situations. O.W

  • Joshua Lewis
    Joshua Lewis 2 days ago

    Who else tried to stop saying ok during the video

  • banana balls no homo


  • Affluent Nerd
    Affluent Nerd 2 days ago

    Umm K

  • elle mariea
    elle mariea 2 days ago

    now it just became “K”

  • yoo jeongyeon
    yoo jeongyeon 2 days ago


  • Tiller King
    Tiller King 2 days ago

    -Ok then - said the butcher.

  • namr1214
    namr1214 3 days ago

    Is it ok or okay?

  • Real BananaCat
    Real BananaCat 3 days ago +1

    Ok I’ll watch this

  • Predator
    Predator 3 days ago


  • Bryan Pratt
    Bryan Pratt 3 days ago


  • Jonathan Purnama
    Jonathan Purnama 3 days ago


  • Peppa Pig
    Peppa Pig 3 days ago +1


  • Brennen Cox
    Brennen Cox 3 days ago

    OK is the most recognizable spoken phrase on the planet (not maybe 0:13). And Coke is the most recognizable product.

  • G. Confa
    G. Confa 3 days ago +1

    Everything OK, until you brought about the Moon landing hoax as an example.

    • Colorado Strong
      Colorado Strong Day ago

      Saved me the time to write exactly that. So now i say you're OK..

  • Luis Alfonso Alba
    Luis Alfonso Alba 3 days ago

    How about even way back to the Greeks? Olla Kala meaning Everything Good

  • Larry Fine
    Larry Fine 4 days ago

    But what about Buckwheat and the famous "O tay"?

  • Do The Do
    Do The Do 4 days ago

    Hard C's are wack anyway. All of English is.

  • Suga's UwU's
    Suga's UwU's 4 days ago +2

    *2 letter word*

    B-but I say Okay not ok....

  • Unique Name Here
    Unique Name Here 4 days ago


  • Spence P
    Spence P 4 days ago

    ⚠️I prefer okie dokie‼️

  • Sophie Burns
    Sophie Burns 5 days ago +1

    Am I the only one that spells it okay

  • TheLocutus70
    TheLocutus70 5 days ago


  • Klydzz
    Klydzz 5 days ago +1


  • A Diamond
    A Diamond 6 days ago


  • immasoxfanbaby
    immasoxfanbaby 6 days ago

    What about KO.

  • CreeperTech
    CreeperTech 7 days ago +1


  • qwerty uiop
    qwerty uiop 7 days ago



  • James
    James 7 days ago

    This blows my mind I never realized how much I use ok

  • Jimmy Jamm
    Jimmy Jamm 8 days ago

    I dropped the O and just use K

  • Arfan Eka Diandra
    Arfan Eka Diandra 8 days ago

    .. -.-

  • jupiter is a bean
    jupiter is a bean 8 days ago

    i was not expecting this