Posted by ESC on April 09, 2000

In Reply to: OKAY! posted by James Briggs on April 09, 2000

: :
: : : OKAY! Or O.K., or ok comes from a while back. Many years ago, someone(forget which office), ran for political office. His last name was Kinderhook. No one could seem to remember his name, so he thought... his campaign slogan then became "Vote for Old Kinderhook... He's OK!" hence, Ok...!

: : Yeah, the "He's OK" obvioulsy came after the phrase OK (Okay) was already in use. Okay is just a word, doesn't make sense when people try and serch for origins to words. It's not a phrase or anything.

: OK:
: There have been numerous suggestions as to the origin of this one, including the use initials of the nickname (Old Kinderhook, Kinderhook being his birthplace) of US Senator, and later President, Martin Van Buren. The truth I am certain originates in the USA, but not from the Senate. It belongs to the native American Red Indians; in one of
: their languages (?Chocktaw?) there is a word which translates as "May it be so"; that word is
: Okeh.

: The earliest known use of the expression was, I believe, in a Boston (US) newspaper in the 1830s.

: This one must have been discussed before - I bet ESC will know!!

Search under "Kinderhook" to access a previous discussion following a March post by Tony Morris:

: Another theory which I find attractive is that "okay" derives from the Scottish "auch aye", meaning "ah yes".

That's a new one. Here's what I've found. From the Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins (Second Edition, HarperCollins, 1977) by William and Mary Morris: Mr. and Mrs. Morris say that O.K./okay "has probably been more discussed than any other item in the American language." They list several theories including that President Woodrow Wilson thought Okey was a Choctaw Indian. Other theories: O.K. was an abbreviation for Old Kinderhook Club, a political group supporting James Van Buren (The Kinderhook Fox) for president in 1840; stood for 'Aux Cayes," a Haiti port known for superior rum; for the illiterate phrase "Orl Korrect," and so forth. "Okey-doke. As noted above, O.K. first appeared in print some time before 1840. It has now achieved 'colloquial' status in reference books, meaning that it is perfectly permissible in conversation and informal writing. Okey-doke and is variant okey-dokey, however, did not make their debuts in print until about 1930. Each is still considered slang."