We Generally Spell It Okay, Because OK is Like Tire Spikes to Our Eyes

“We generally spell it OK — the spelling okay is relatively recent, and still relatively rare — and we pronounce it not ‘ock’ but by sounding the names of the letters O and K.” [BBC, via Daring Fireball]


In other words, we spell it OK because that’s how it’s spelled.

Derivations? No one really knows but a good guess (and backstory for OK) is a humorous slang expression, Orl Korrect that appeared in Boston.

My God, I’m so fucking boring I sometimes scare myself!

I texted a female friend, I got KK in reply. I was scratching my head over that one.

KK??? Apparently it’s okay for those who think hitting O is too much work.

I am old.

@ManchuCandidate: My kids use “k” when texting, I guess to save energy.

@Dodgerblue: So says the person who sent me an email the other day that included “LMK” in it, which I will admit that I had no idea what it meant and I had to Google it.

@ManchuCandidate: KK might = Kool Kool. Say it fast like koolkool or kookoo.

@Mistress Cynica: Well, y’know, anybody who insists on wearing a bow tie…

Oh, it’s not Blumenauer?

I once interviewed predecessor Les AuCoin at the News-Resister office. Slickest motherfucker I ever met.

Well, from what I understand OK come from TKO (Technical Knock Out) a boxing term. But hey. I could be wrong.

@Mistress Cynica: Congratulations. Good start. Though you need him also to be dangerous before we can start talking prizes.

@Benedick: I try to look on the bright side: at least his staff and party recognize the crazy and try to get help for him instead of pushing him as the ranking member of an important committee (*cough* Bachman *cough*).

@CheapBoy: Heard it is derived from a West African language.

@Mistress Cynica:

Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, who directed health research for Kaiser Permanente before his retirement, said he doesn’t think that Wu’s need for mental health treatment should hinder his ability to stay in politics.

I would *so* not make it in politics; the obvious followup to this is, “For example, look at pretty much every Republican that got elected in 2010. Hey-o!” :)

Garner gives as variants: OK, O.K., and okay. He prefers the first as being the modern option. See above remark re boring.

Team Headline. OK is typologically screamy, which is silly for a word that means just the opposite. But feel free to consider this a grammatical gauntlet thrown down if you want to debate it…or the serial comma or double spaces between sentences or the placement of punctuation in regard to quotation marks, for that matter. That would be diverting on a cold, pissy day like today.

@flippin eck: I like it because it looks like an ejaculation – which is what I think it is – and not a word.

@flippin eck: @Benedick: In “conversational” writing, I spell it out because that’s part of the flow of a sentence — OK stops such a sentence in its tracks.

In checklist use, OK is okay.


@Benedick: It can be used as an ejaculation, but also as an adjective when it’s a synonym for acceptable (e.g. Is it okay if we discuss grammar?). In that case, it’s very much a word. It’s not comparable with oh or um…neither of which are capped either just because they’re ejaculations. But then again I’m a girl, so maybe I’m just less impressed with the specialness of ejaculate ejaculations.

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