I’m just okay, okay.

file5235ca63a1c56On Facebook today, Adam J Whitlatch was complaining that Words With Friends doesn’t accept [O][K] as a word. This got me thinking about this terrible thing that is OK.

Personally, I’m a big fan of okay. It’s clearly a word denoting agreement or approval.  It’s older relative OK, on the other hand, is not so clear cut.

It’s generally accepted that OK is an acronym of some sort, but no one can quite remember what it’s an acronym of. There are several proposed explanations: one is based on a misspelling, one is based on an abbreviation of the nickname of a presidential candidate. From there, they get farther out claiming that it was a derivative of an abbreviation used in a Choctaw translation of the bible. The best theory in my book was that the word came from Africa and became popular amongst slaves–from voodoon to jazz, slave culture has given us some of the more interesting aspects of American culture.

Wikipedia also notes it could just be scottish. Och aye it could.

My contention is that if the entire word is unsure what an acronym means, it’s not really using those letters as a acronym. It’s just a word using unnecessary upper case letters. I believe we should adopt okay as the one and true okay, mark OK as an archaic spelling, and move forward. Barring that, we should accept “ok” as a valid alternate spelling, not OK as a acronym.

However, as an archaic usage, it should totally be legal in Words With Friends.

1 thought on “I’m just okay, okay.

  1. Katy Sozaeva

    Well, speaking as an editor, I can tell you (and Adam) that in novels, the spellings indicated in the Merriam Webster dictionary are the ones that are supposed to be used, and that word is ‘okay’. Any editor worth her salt will know this, which is probably why it was changed in the book. 🙂

    Reply

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