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On This Day… A Bizarre Abbreviation Is Born!

Written by: George Chittenden : 09 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 23rd March, back in 1839 when the abbreviation “o.k.” first appeared in print. So, what is it an abbreviation of? well, we all think of abbreviations as being a fairly modern trend, with the current generation’s obsession with terms like OMG and LOL. However, an abbreviation craze swept through America during the nineteenth century.

Back then they added a twist on it too, by applying a little humour. They deliberately miss-spelled words and abbreviated them. So as an example, “KG” stood for “know go,” the incorrect spelling of “no go.” So “o.k.” actually stands for “all correct”. I know it’s not exactly hilarious, but it is interesting at least. It appeared on this day in the Boston Morning Post, simply as a bad joke and has become one of the most frequently used terms in the English language.

The origin of the term was incorrectly believed to have come from the 1840 American election, as one of the candidates, Martin Van Buren was nicknamed Old Kinderhook, and people believed it’s origin was his nicknames initials, but we now know the original source was the Boston Morning Post.

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