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Why we say “OK”

  • Published on: 2018-09-12
  • There’s a two-letter word that we hear everywhere. OK. Okay. OK, are you OK Annie? OK OK OK, OK ladies… OK! OK. Alexa, turn off the living room light. OK. But, what does OK actually mean? And where did it come from? Hm. OK. Okay then. OK, thank you. Haha. was in order. in the Boston Morning Post. clear: Old Kinderhook was “oll korrect.” Konspiracy” or “Orful Katastrophe” Hah. But it was a win for OK. and dashes representing letters of the alphabet. This was OK’s moment to shine. operators on the expanding US railroad. OK had become serious business. they’re easy to communicate. It has to do with how OK looks. around 22nd in the alphabet. Krispy-Kreme and Kool-Aid. It’s the K that makes it so memorable. believe. Choctaw gave us the word OK… was embedded in our language. OK then. Okay then. Learn to truly love yourself. OK. OK. Get yourself up here! OK! I don’t know what to say. Say OK. OK. It’s settled then! and accepts information. If your “food was OK,” then it was acceptable. And “OK” confirms a change of plans. it. Not bad for a corny joke from the 1830s. Alright guys, cut it out.
  • Runtime: 05:22
  • OK, okay, history, linguistics, language, vox, Vox.com, etymology, origin, newspaper, telegraph, martin van buren, old kinderhook, ok club, explain, explainer, why we say ok, origin of ok, why we say okay, origin of okay, what does okay mean, what does ok mean


  • Vox

    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

  • meloD30

    This is just too good to be true. Hmmm.... it's not April Fools...

  • Mad Pyer

    Basically it's a legendary meme that became so powerful it became part of the human language.

  • Sharp Shooter

    Did u read my mind, Vox? I was just thinking about it a few days back!

  • Zo n

    Yall forgot Kanye west that part ok ok ok ok ok OKAY on the intro

  • Coyce

    Hm. I always thought it had to do with an older war in which human life was regarded as a resource you spend to win battles. After the battle was over the fallen were counted and if your side had no deaths the message "0 killed" was given out or 0K short which then eventually became O.K. No clue where I got that from but your explanation seems to date further back since it's unlikely to have no losses in battle before modern military encounters

  • SCG Niagara

    So around the early 1800’s some young, intelligent Bostonians (or as some are calling them, memelords) created this well-known word? Ok, let's hear it...

  • KostasSiderisBarista

    ΟΛΑ ΚΑΛΑ!!!! Everything Good in Greek. Greek port workers in NY, painted the initials of "Ολα Καλά" on the walls, when they finished their shift.

  • kieghacat

    This has just changed the whole meaning of "Are you OK? Day" that we had recently....

  • Aimee Mena

    So now I know okay is incorrect, my scrabble better accept ok from now on.

  • Blue Winter

    I wonder how many of our modern abbreviations would survive to the next century? LOL, PLZ, THX, FYI, FWIW, TTYL, GN, JK, BRB, ASAP, ppl, cz

  • Cori Co

    wH- mcr? I now approve of this video

  • Shahin Tajeri

    00:27 love that album which is the reason that i clicked on this video XD

  • T Ig

    So...it's chatspeak?🤔 And a meme...?

  • God //

    I never always said ok in my life. Only AR!

  • beefcakepantiehoes

    Thank you 1830’s Bostonian intellectual memelordes. We’re oll OK now bekause of you.

  • dolofonos

    This creates an interesting etymological question. I don't think it's invalid to acknowledge converging origins any more than to acknowledge a mother's contribution to the genetics of a paternal lineage. Primary origin is not sole origin, and indeed may not be the most important (like saying the Chinese invented space travel merely because of primitive advancements in rocketry). A word like _troll,_ for example, shouldn't be denied as made receptive by virtue of the word's mythological nature, despite a very probable piscatorial origin. All contributions, even when seemingly erroneous, are clearly important to a word's history.

  • Milk Man

    Nice vid, well done. I love it. Nice job man.

  • Ash Westbrook

    I thought it was just a shorter version of "Okay", but ok.

  • nzoomed

    I thought it was the initials from a worker at Ford Motors who signed everything that passed quality control?

  • Penelope May

    When the Alexa part came on mine was like “I’m sorry”😂

  • Jesus Christ

    0/10 no donkey kong from dk64 saying okay in this video at all.

  • Harlequin Ely

    Then why the superfluous use of the word "Okay" as the formal use... I always just assumed Ok was just a simply written form for the word playing on its phonetic sound

  • Jose Rojas

    Well, I also just learned there are different morse code alphabets...

  • Filippo Sala

    Cracked explained this ages ago waaay before they became cucked.

  • Kevin

    I thought that the MJ song said "Are you Wonky Ellie" now it makes sense

  • Pluk

    So it should of been AC

  • Trash y

    *Ok* but nobody is talking about the My Chemical Romance song in the beginning just let your inner emo shine

  • Brianna Pollard

    The whole K thing makes me think about the Kardashians...Shane, get on this conspiracy

  • LulitaInPita

    The origins of OK is really kool! I was always told that it came from a short confirmation of "zero killed" in troop count reports in WWII, meaning that all the soldiers who went on a specific mission returned home okay. I never tried to confirm or disprove it, so I guess I just accepted it as fact.

  • Miguelv Sayol

    Here's a fun drinking game, Take a shot for every time they say ok