Where Did The Word OK Come From?

“You are oll korrect.”


OK is typically part of the most used words in every single day. This word is a word that is understood by everyone, everywhere, and at any given time. But where did this versatile word come from?

Ever wondered where the word OK came from?
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A lot of studies and speculations were brought up as to where OK came from. And if you haven’t noticed yet, OK is used as a noun, a verb, and an adjective.


What does OK really mean?

Over time, this English expression is changed every time it is derived from one language to another. But originally, OK means that something is fine; that something is ideally “correct.”

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However, using the word OK can be a neutral translation or comment. Some people use the word OK to denote that something is just “ok” instead of being “excellent” or “worse.”

The history of the word OK

Firstly, many people clung to the idea of the word being derived from the Choctaw, a native American Indian tribe’s word “okeh” which means it is so.

No one ever argued because it is the closest derivation and usage from the word we all know.

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However, a later study suggested that the word came from United States itself—when it was a trend for writers to substitute abbreviations to words themselves as a form of “secrecy” and “code.”

Boston during the 1800s

Back when it was the dawn of writing, long before telephones were a thing, Bostonian writers and those who are intellectual loved to use abbreviations as an alternative to words.

Some of these were “KC” for knuff ced (enough said), “KY” for know yuse (no use), and “OW” for oll wright (all right).


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They intentionally misspell these in order for those who are “in-the-know” to comprehend it. They intend it so that their way of communication is easy and complex for those who aren’t a part of their society.

Oll korrect

If you still haven’t noticed, OK comes from the abbreviation oll korrect (all correct). The phrase “all correct” has been a common and special abbreviation used in different publications to signify that everything was in place or in order.

In March 23, 1839, the word OK had its first publication in the Boston Morning Post and it had its meaning, which was, of course, all correct.

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Soon enough, the abbreviated family member rose and became popular not just in Boston intellects, but in other states as well. It has then been used to denote that all things are fine and in order.

The invention of the telegraph

Samuel Morse, the inventor of the telegraph, and of course the Morse Code played a pretty relevant role in the widespread of the word OK.

Other abbreviations just kind of fell out into fashion but OK had its big break from just an abbreviation, to a word with legitimate function.

When the telegraph was invented in 1844, this was the new thing people used to communicate even in far distances. Since the Morse Code included a combination of dots and lines, it would be difficult to form words out of it.

Thus, making OK an easy word and message to deliver to people who are trying to communicate. In fact, OK was the primary message used to denote that the other message has been received; usually done by people manning the U.S. railroads.

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It has been a relevant part of traditional communication because in the telegraphy manual, it was stated that “no message is EVER regarded as transmitted until the office receiving it gives an OK.”

So, it is quite evident that the word OK really came from something that provides or assures affirmation of a certain topic. Did you ever think that it was just an abbreviation that came out of thin air?

Now before you started reading this article; if you had an inch of thought and feeling that the word OK came from something similar, then you are “oll korrect.” Now,  would not be bothered by this idea anymore knowing that its abbreviation came from something legitimate.


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