1839: What Exactly Does the Widespread Abbreviation “OK” Mean?

1839: What Exactly Does the Widespread Abbreviation “OK” Mean?
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On this day in 1839, the phrase OK appeared in the U.S. newspaper The Boston Morning Post for the first time in the history of print. Today it is a universally understood sign of approval. Although there are many theories about what the abbreviation means, today the premise that it is the phonetic abbreviation for all correct is generally accepted. Namely, these distorted phonetic abbreviations, such as OW for all right (oll wright) and NS for enough said (nuff said) were very common in American journalism at that time. So OK emerged from oll korrect.

OK attained great popularity two years later in the presidential election, when presidential candidate Martin Van Buren was named with the initials O. K. (O. K. was an abbreviation for Old Kinderhook, because Van Buren was from the town of Kinderhook, New York). So, the abbreviation quickly spread throughout the United States and then around the world.

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