It's O.K. to say O.K.
By Themiya L. B. Hurulle
In our daily life, we often hear sayings such as "O.K., I will meet you later!" "Is it O.K.?" and similar phrases using the abbreviation O.K. But have we ever wondered, even for a fraction of a second, how this term originated?
No one is certain and no one will ever be!

From Sydney to New York and Beijing to Johannesburg, the word O.K. is commonly used, as a convenient and effective way of communicating consent or similar acknowledgements. Linguists across the world have pondered the question for years, arriving at many colourful but often inaccurate answers.

The Collins Compact Dictionary 21st Century Edition defines O.K. as: an expression of approval or agreement……. Perhaps from O(LL) K(ORRECT): jocular alteration of ALL CORRECT"

Some attribute the origins of "O.K." to lie with the abbreviation of ORRIN KENDALL biscuits, which American soldiers ate during their Civil war of 1865. Others say O.K. is short for "Aux Cayes", a port in Haiti that American sailors praised for its Rum. Old Keruk, a Native American tribal chief, is said to have signed treaties with his initials O.K.

The word "O.K" has been used in the most unimaginable places - American soldiers carried the word to their duty stations worldwide, Astronaut John Glenn took the word into space when he excitedly exclaimed "We're all O.K." as the Spacecraft FRIENDSHIP 7 was launched.

In the spring of 1839 in Boston, USA, readers saw the first instance of the term "O.K." appearing in print in the Boston, Washington Post. Many were of the opinion that the word came about with the saying "All Correct" - linguist Eric Mc Kean has pointed out that the word "All Correct" (A.C.) was deliberately misspelt to arrive at the term "O.K.". Nowadays, we see people intentionally misspell or abbreviate words when typing on the Internet for convenience.

With the passage of time, many abbreviations have faded into obscurity, but the word "O.K" continues to gain momentum. To talk about the larger phenomenon as this word spread across the America and world implies that "O.K. has multiple origins, that people accept it for a variety of reasons" says Michael Adams, a linguist and an Albright College Professor. He says "There are words similar to O.K. in many other languages." Wolof, a West African language has the words "Wah Kay" meaning, "Yes". In Choctaw, "Okeh" means "Indeed".

In conclusion, should we ask ourselves what would people have said before the word "O. K." came about? How would we go through a day without using this seemingly essential abbreviation? Would we say "Right you are!" or "Very well"?
O.K. then? - For generations to come!

(References: Internet)
Business Editor's note: To this we should add OKAY - the name of the layer cake recently put out by the Ceylon Biscuits group probably punning on the common use of O.K.

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