Why we say “OK”

  • Published on:  9/12/2018
  • How a cheesy joke from the 1830s became the most widely spoken word in the world.

    Subscribe to our channel! http://goo.gl/0bsAjO

    OK is thought to be the most widely recognized word on the planet. We use it to communicate with each other, as well as our technology. But it actually started out as a language fad in the 1830’s of abbreviating words incorrectly.

    Young intellectuals in Boston came up with several of these abbreviations, including “KC” for “knuff ced,” “OW” for “oll wright,” and KY for “know yuse.” But thanks to its appearance in Martin Van Buren’s 1840 presidential re-election campaign as the incumbents new nickname, Old Kinderhook, OK outlived its abbreviated comrades.

    Later, widespread use by early telegraph operators caused OK to go mainstream, and its original purpose as a neutral affirmative is still how we use it today.

    Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com.

    Watch our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyE
    Follow Vox on Facebook: http://goo.gl/U2g06o
    Or Twitter: http://goo.gl/XFrZ5H


  • Vox (Sep 12, 2018)

    Another popular false origin of OK comes from the American Civil War (1861-1865) which says that soldiers returning from battle would report "0K" (zero killed). And there's a few from around the world, too. Like the Greek "όλα καλά (óla kalá) which means "all good," the Scottish "och aye," which means "oh yes," and even a French-named seaport in Haiti, Aux Cayes. While these are all pretty interesting and might indicate why "OK" was so easily adapt...

  • iChillypepper (Mar 7, 2019)

    You forgot the Choctaw use of okeh

  • Matheus Franca (Feb 15, 2019)

    That's exactly what I was going to comment.A professor of mine once told me that in college.

  • Truly Infamous (Sep 13, 2018)

    So it came from 1800's memelords and became one of the most well known words.

  • Allen Allen (Feb 15, 2019)


  • Khajiit Hadwares (Jan 31, 2019)

    O.K actually comes from Pepe the Frog, aka TOP KEK.Kek is an egyptian deity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kek_%28mythology%29OK is said in the same manner as Oh My God - Oh Kek.Being a vocal shortening of the phrase Ave Kek.

  • TheReal Doge (Nov 27, 2018)

    weird flex but *_Oll KORRECT_*

  • stoneyboi783 9 (Mar 6, 2019)

    Proposterous flex but alas

  • Tyler Huynh (Mar 2, 2019)


  • mattronimus (Nov 8, 2018)

    So back in the 1800's memes didn't die within a week??

  • AnimuIsLyfe (Mar 1, 2019)

    +Vlad Ok

  • Vlad (Mar 1, 2019)

    +AnimuIsLyfe Never was. Maybe the best example of a meme fad. The need to be a part of a joke, a part of a community.And like real fads, quality has absolutely nothing to do with it."Do you kno de wey?" was a bad one. The least funny I can remember right now, ever.

  • ibsio (Dec 10, 2018)

    OK = oll korrectKC = knuff cedKY = know yuse OW = oll wright

  • Kenneth Jara (6 days ago)

    KY also means kentucky.

  • Idk 123 (Mar 1, 2019)

    Roy Luxford enough said is what I think kc means except its nuff

  • Emmett Kineman (Nov 23, 2018)

    I bet in 100 years their will be another video: Why we say "oof"

  • Zeph Lodwick (Mar 2, 2019)

    +Ranstone Where does it come from?

  • Liyana (Feb 27, 2019)

    my like was the 420th

  • Chris (Sep 12, 2018)

    so ok is basically a dumb meme that got out of hand. ok.

  • Leonard Marc Ramos (Sep 14, 2018)


  • Mike Man 2005 (Sep 14, 2018)


  • Mohaamd_7 (Nov 20, 2018)

    A mid-19th century corny joke made it to the moon..

  • john leonardo (Mar 13, 2019)


  • Troubled Sole (Nov 25, 2018)

    another giant leap for mankind.

  • vic da fangirl (Nov 22, 2018)

    I see you Krusty Krab

  • Carly Vidler (Dec 10, 2018)

    Ok mr krabs

  • Einstein's smexy Hands (Dec 2, 2018)

    So If OK were some word came from memelords back 1830s then...Could people possibly in the future will actually say F during funerals or any sad occasions???

  • Unknown Side account (19 hours ago)

    I’ll tell you guys what happens in a few years

  • Nasser FireLord Arts (Feb 7, 2019)

    +L Pharmer press f to pay your respects