17 February 2014

What does "OK" stand for?

Dear Cecil:
This question seems like such an obvious candidate for your column that someone must have asked it before. But on the chance no one has, here goes: what does "OK" stand for, and where does the expression come from? I've heard a lot of different explanations over the years.
— Norm, Chicago

Cecil replies:
Yeah, and it's about time I got things cleared up. Despite the fact that the origin of OK was conclusively established decades ago, few etymological dictionaries, even recent ones, give it accurately. On the contrary, some persist in giving equal time to explanations that have been discredited for decades.  READ MORE...

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