A Brief but Vital History of OK

I have officially fallen down the rabbit hole of research for the new novel, since it takes place in early 20C eastern US, and I’m trying to, you know, be accurate with my unrealistic nouvelle-magic-realism-story.

My funnest find today:

“OK “ was supposed to be a joke. In the 1830s/1840s in Boston, it was all the rage to abbreviate everything, because Cool Bostonians were too busy to, like, say whole entire words. People ran around saying, “That’s an NG!” instead of “That’s a no go!”(or, more correctly, “that isn’t going to happen!”) and “Bob is GT, like everybody else” instead of “Bob has gone to Texas.”

(Why, Bob, why? I can see wanting to get out of Boston, but Texas? It’s super hot.)

So, “OK” was part of that language craze. But there was a joke in it, too. “OK” stands for “Orl Korrect,” which is a Hey I’m Being Silly-Talkin’ way of saying “All Correct.” So it was, at its inception, supercool in-crowd talk for “yep.”

So, moral of the story: 1840s Americans were HILARIOUS, yo.

Think of THAT every time you say “OK” now. Okay?

(Oh, and OK, it just occurs to me, are the initials of the main character of the novel, too. Well, it all comes full circle, doesn’t it, and I’m sure it means SOMETHING.)

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