Tuesday, April 23, 2024

How a game between students gave birth to the most famous word in the world


We are in the 1830s in Boston, United States. As adolescents do today with abbreviations to communicate by SMS like “TKT” for “T’inquiètes” or “OKLM” for “Au Calme”, ​​the young intellectuals of the city have fun in abbreviate words and expressions, but incorrectly.

For instance, “It’s okay ” (“ok”), they do not write ALLRIGHT but OLL WRIGHT. The abbreviated gives “OH”. But of all its abbreviations, there is one that will be a great success. “Everything is correct”, “everything correct” in English becomes “correct oll”. Abbreviated result: gives “OK”. It is well circulating in Boston and far beyond the circle of its creators earns its letters of nobility the March 23, 1839, when first printed in a city newspaper.

But it is a presidential election that will definitely make him popular across America. In 1840, the American president Martin Van Buren he is a candidate for his own reelection. But, like Joe Biden not long ago, his opponents attack him for his advanced age and give him the nickname of Old kinderhook, your natal city. In English, Old Kinderhook, which for short gives it’s okay.

Van Buren loses the election but this OK will remain and will become universal as a result of the arrival of the telegraph where the OK, practical to write, becomes the word sent to validate the reception of a message and almost 2 centuries later., the most used word in the world before “mom”.

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Ebenezer Robbins
Ebenezer Robbins
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.

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