top of page
  • Dariia Pasko

Did you know that “OK” did not exist 183 years ago?

Can you imagine not knowing “OK” and always replying like: sure, of course, no problem, etc. In 1839 Allan Metcalf changed our lives by sarcastic shortcuts, which spread across people and are eventually used internationally.

“So when “o.k.” appeared in print, it was intended to be the shortening of “oll korrect,” the humorous misspelling of “all correct.”

Another example of such shortcuts is “KG” which stands for “known go” and means “no go”. It did not become popular like “ok” but was widely used in printed media in the 1840s.

“OK reappeared in another Boston Morning Post article three days after the first time it was mentioned, and it very slowly seeped into the American vernacular during 1839. By the end of the year, it had shown up in the Boston Evening Transcript, New York Evening Tattler, and the Philadelphia Gazette”.

Before the shortcut was widely used by the population it went through several adaptations.

OK was later used by Martin Van Buren, who used abbreviation during an election campaign against William Henry Harrison. OK was Martin’s nickname and stood for Old Kinderhook, but had a double meaning – “Old Kinderhook was all correct.” Harrison won the elections, but OK got even more publicity and appeared in the Slang Dictionary of Vulgar Words. It then appeared in book names, musicals, and everyday lexicon.

So now when saying “OK” to someone you will know how it all started and stating that oll correct!


6 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page