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Word Entries at Get Words: “ok
Dear Ann Landers:

I was interested in your comment on the overuse of "OK" and decided to do a little research on it.

"OK' was first used in 1839 by C.K. Greene, the editor of the Boston Post, as an abbreviation of "oll korrect," a facetious misspelling of "all correct." Given meanings were: approval, endorsement, accepted as legitimate, or correct.

While there are no hard statistics to prove it, one can safely assume that the most widely used American word in the world is "OK." Spaniards utter it more often than "salud" and in England it is more common than "righto." Even speakers of the Djabo dialect in Liberia say "O-ke."

In 1840, when Martin Van Buren was running for re-electin, the Democrats banded together under the banner of the New York Democratic OK Club and son after the word became part of the language to signify that what is OK is all right.

—Mrs J.H.R. Renton, Washington.

Dear Mrs. J.H.R.:

Thank you for sharing your research. Your letter is another fine example of how my readers educate me.

Dear Ann Landers:

"OK" was in use prior to the claim of the Boston Post editor, C.K. Greene. (He said it was 1839.) I do not know exactly when "OK' was first used., but the person who gave it prominence was President Andrew Jackson.

Our seventh president was not a very good speller. He thought "all correct" was spelled "Orl Korrect" and used "OK" as the abbreviation when he approved state papers.

Obviously the Boston Post editor in 1839 was not the creator of "OK" because Jackson served as president from March 4, 1829, through March 3, 1837.

—Deane S. Stevens, Portland, Maine

Dear Deane:

Thanks for the research. I have in my hand a letter from a man who writes: "President Martin Van Buren started the use of 'OK.' It was the secret name of New York Democratic clubs derived from 'Old Kinderhok,' the president's hometown." Perhaps the next letter will interest you.

Dear Ann Landers:

I read in today's Massachusetts' Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise your column about the origin of the common expression "OK." I wish to make a correction.

The epression is almost as old as the Greek language, and it means "all is well"; ola kala.

Since the Greek language began to be studied in the West from the beginning of the Renaissance, students of Greek used many Greek words among themselves, and "OK' became the most common expression, as it is today.

—George F. Steffanides, professor emeritus, Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg. Massachusetts

Dear George:

With imput from so many authorities, what's a girl to believe?

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