What is the origin of the word “OK”?
I was less concerned with the origin of the word than with determining when it came into common usage in the United States. I certainly grew up using the word (though my recollection is that it was considered slang and that one should use something more formal, like “I agree” or “Alright”). But my novel is set in the generation before I was born. Were they going around saying “ok?”
Turns out, they were. The word originated before 1850, probably in the U.S. So, my characters acting from 1914-1950 were free to say “ok” as much as they wanted.
A nice thing about having to do research like this is that one learns things one doesn’t really need to know. I didn’t need to know the source of the word, just the time it originated. But, it’s interesting to know that the word probably came from “Oll Korrect,” a humorous spelling of “all correct.” Or, maybe it came from Martin Van Buren’s failed campaign for a second presidential term. You see, Van Buren was known as “Old Kinderhook” and his slogan was “Vote for OK.” No wonder he lost.
There’s more. If you want to pursue it, here are the sources which the Google Machine gave me: