What does the word ok stand for?
What does OK actually mean?
In conversations with family, friends or colleagues, consent probably rarely means "that's okay". It is more like: "OK". And obviously the term understood worldwide is an abbreviation. But for what? Difficult question. What is certain is that the "okay" has been used in the USA since the middle of the 19th century. Many a linguist has already sacrificed months of his life to research the origin of "OK". One of them put forward a hypothesis that is widely accepted in linguistics: Allen Walker Read.
"know yuse" and "oll correct"
In the 1830s there was a somewhat strange fashion in the United States of using abbreviations for expressions that were deliberately misspelled. For example KY for "know yuse" instead of "no use". But the fashion was short-lived. Only "OK" for "oll correct" instead of "all correct" apparently stayed in people's minds.
The nickname of the American President Martin van Buren made the "OK" even better known. In 1840 he ran for a second term as President of the United States. His nickname was "Old Kinderhook", which is the name of the place where he was born. When his supporters founded the "OK Club", the "OK" was again in full swing and has remained so to this day. So much for Allen Walker Read's assumption.
But there are other explanations as well. One of them is that "OK" comes from the African slaves who were brought to North America. According to this statement, there is the word "waw kay" in the West African Wolof language. Like "OK", it stands for agreement, and it is pronounced something like "Okay".
At least two dozen other hypotheses are still wandering the world. With absolute certainty, the "OK" mystery will probably never be resolved. Maybe several explanations apply at the same time. With this "multicultural term" that is understood all over the world, that would certainly not come as a surprise.
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