By Rocky Reichman
OK. Ok. O.K. Okay.
The above is just a sample of all the
different spellings used for the Okay. What was once O.K. has now shed its initials and become the more liberal OK. But what
does OK (or is it Okay, or O.K.?) stand for? And why is the shorter Ok used more often than the clearer Okay?
The first question bears a simple answer.
OK stands for “All Correct.”
Most readers out there are probably
shaking their heads at this. Grammarians and Spellinators are likely pulling their hair out (if they are fortunate to have
any). Is there something wrong here? Yes. What’s wrong? “All Correct” doesn’t have the initials O.K.!
Weird spelling, yes. And that’s
the only reason for it. Not strange, not funny, but weird. Despite this spelling atrocity, however, it’s still important
for the reader to look at the history of “OK” to learn more about it.
First came O.K. with initials, which
stood for “All Correct.” Later, as with many words, the initials were thrown out and Ok was born. Finally, in
an effort to make the word more proper, it was extended to Okay. Today, every spelling is accepted, and each is well-used.
Initials covered. Etymology done. Now
it’s time to tackle the second question raised above: Why is OK more popular with users than the more proper spelling
The best answer is because OK only
has half as many letters as Okay. But that’s no reason to fret. Writing an extra two letters won’t hurt you. It’s
not hard, either. So an alternative reason for OK’s strength is probably in the word itself. What it symbolizes. OK
is short, a unique word: two letters, two syllables, an easy sign to remember. This helps to explain why OK is used so much
more in speaking and writing than Okay is.
Are you O.K. or OK with this article?