October 18, 2002
O.K. Corralled

The origin of O.K.

"...its first known published appearance with its current meaning came in The Boston Morning Post on March 23, 1839: "o.k. all correct." It appeared at a time when initials, preferably of misspelled words, like "oll korrect," were the fad. "K.Y." meant "no use" ("know yuse"), but that did not catch on."

From the NY Times obit of Allen Read, who also hunted down the source of words like Dixie and Podunk.

Posted by elia at October 18, 2002 12:47 PM

My favorite part is that o.k.'s ubiquity is summed up by noting that it was one of the first words spoken on the moon. Sublime, in my book.

Posted by: kio on October 18, 2002 05:28 PM

I had always thought that O.K. stood for Old Kinderhook. Where I got that from, I have no idea (too much trivial pursuit as a child maybe). But here's some backup that is spectacularly inconclusive.

Posted by: tmonkey on October 18, 2002 09:12 PM
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