Posted by Adrian on December 17, 2002
In Reply to: Meaning of the word "okay" posted by Jim Broadbent on November 12, 2002
: I read the meaning of the phrase "okay" and I tend to disagree with those given.
: I believe that the word comes from the japanese word "okane" which means money (pronounced: O-kah-nay)
: The japanese hand sign for this word is the same as what we use for "ok" in North America - a circle of the thumb and index finger with the other 3 fingers fanned out above.
: I think (but have no proof) that the Japanese word was borrowed after the occupation of Japan following the Second World War.
"Scrutinising newspapers from the 1840s, which he knew to be the term's birth period, Read discovered that it stood for "Old Kinderhook", a reference to the eighth US president, Martin Van Buren (1837-41), a native of Kinderhook, New York. His supporters had called themselves the Democratic OK Club, asking "Will you not say OK? Go ahead."
"Later, Read found an even earlier use of the term. In an 1839 edition of the Boston Morning Post, he came across the phrase "Ok, all correct", from a game of using initials for common expressions. In a fad of the time, these were often deliberately misspelt - for example, the term "no use" was written out as "know yuse", and abbreviated to KY. OK, it transpired, stood for "oll korrect". " Source: The Guardian, obituary of Allen Read, Nov 8th 2002 "Classical scholar who sought out the origins of slang"