One of the more interesting finds I’ve made in my daily today-in-history posts occurred this morning, thanks to an article from history.com that says the initials “O.K.” were first published on March 23, 1839, in The Boston Morning Post.
According to the article, which credits the unraveling of the term’s origin to an American linguist named Allen Walker Read, OK was a cool term made up within the “younger, educated circles.” They considered it entertaining to intentionally misspell words and then adopt the abbreviation of those misspellings. OK was an abbreviation of “oll korrect,” a misspelling of “all correct.”
Oh, those wild and crazy kids of the early 19th century.
In my not-all-that-extensive global travels, I have heard the term “OK” used in many different languages. That has always amazed me. This article confirms it, citing OK as “one of the most ubiquitous terms in the world, and certainly one of America’s greatest lingual exports.”