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DID you know that O.K. (okay) is one of the most often used words in the world?  But no one really knows where the word came from.  

     Here are five theories:

Theory One:  It is a word given to us by the Choctaw Native American Indian tribe. The Choctaw word “okeh” means the same as the American word “okay”.  The story goes that early explorers in America came into contact with this word in the early nineteenth century.

Theory Two: It is a word that came into use in the 1830s and was the short way for writing the word “all correct”.  This theory is proposed by the language expert Allen Read who claims that immigrants to America wrote all correct as “ollkorrect,” hence the abbreviated O.K.

Theory Three: The abbreviation O.K. is thanks to a railroad worker named Obadiah Kelly. He put his initials, O.K., on all the mail and packages people gave him to send on the train. 

Theory Four: The abbreviation O.K. was invented by a political organization. The group supported Martin Van Buren for president in 1837They called their group, the O.K. Club. The letters were taken from the name of the town where Martin Van Buren was bornOld KinderhookNew York.

Theory Five: Abbreviations became the fad in Boston newspapers in the late 1830s. Besides O.K., there were such abbreviations as O.F.M. (Our First Men), G.T.D.H.D. (Give The Devil His Due), N.G. (No Go) and S.P. (Small Potatoes).  It was also a fad to sprinkle stories with words written like “uneducated country folk” spoke and wrote them (i.e. ollkorrect).

     No matter what you believe, “O.K.” is as American as apple pie and, for better or worse, has spread to almost every country on earth.  O.K., O.K, maybe that’s a little exaggerated. I’ll test it out in Google Translate.  Okey-dokey?  —The Editor

 ©InterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com