On This Day: It Was “Oll Korrect”

calendar-icon-Mar23_1839It is a word spoken millions of times a day around the world, but what are its origins?  A book by Allen Metcalf, entitled OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word, states that the word can be traced back to a Boston Morning Post newsroom.  On March 23, 1839 these words appeared:

The “Chairman of the Committee on Charity Lecture Bells,” is one of the deputation, and perhaps if he should return to Boston, via Providence, he of the Journal, and his train-band, would have the “contribution box,” et ceteras, o.k. —all correct—and cause the corks to fly, like sparks, upward.

However, if it meant “all correct”, why wasn’t the abbreviation “a.c” instead of “o.k”?  Ah well, that would be due to a so-called “abbreviation fad” that occurred in the 1830’s.  We might think our modern-day texting is a way-cool method of communicating “shorthand” messages, but in that day it was all the rage especially among newspaper editors.  It was their version of our “LOLs” and “OMGs”.

NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Please check out our new site:  www.digginghistorymag.com.  Samples are available by clicking magazine image.  Regular monthly issues currently available for only $1.99. – Updated 1/20/18.

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