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March 18, 2019

O.K.

Kitchen 2019In less than two centuries the term "OK" has evolved into a central part of the American language and, far more than that, the language of the world. No phrase is more internationally understood. But where did it come from?

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Today's Random Fact:

In 1839 the editor of the Boston Post was inspired to invent the phrase "o.k.," which he defined as "all correct." It was supposed to be a joke, perhaps on the literary competency of the Post's readership, but whether or not readers found it funny the phrase was picked up by another newspaper, the Evening Transcript, and o.k. was on the road to immortality.



Bonus Fact:

Outside of New England o.k. really didn't become famous until the presidential candidacy of Martin Van Buren in 1840 and the invention of the telegraph. The first was important because Van Buren acquired the nickname "Old Kinderhook" after his home town in Upstate New York: "OK now could have a double meaning: Old Kinderhook was all correct."

Then, the invention of the telegraph made the use of OK as shorthand for "all correct" commonplace.