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[oh-key, oh-key, oh-key] /ˈoʊˈkeɪ, ˌoʊˈkeɪ, ˈoʊˌkeɪ/

all right; proceeding normally; satisfactory or under control:
Things are OK at the moment.
correct, permissible, or acceptable; meeting standards:
Is this suit OK to wear to a formal party?
doing well or in good health; managing adequately:
She’s been OK since the operation.
adequate but unexceptional or unremarkable; tolerable:
The job they did was OK, nothing more.
estimable, dependable, or trustworthy; likable:
an OK person.
all right; well enough; successfully; fine:
She’ll manage OK on her own. He sings OK, but he can’t tap dance.
(used as an affirmative response) yes; surely.
(used as an interrogative or interrogative tag) all right?; do you agree?
(used to express agreement, understanding, acceptance, or the like):
OK, I’ll get it for you.
(used as an introductory or transitional expletive):
OK, now where were we?
noun, plural OK’s.
an approval, agreement, or endorsement:
They gave their OK to her leave of absence.
verb (used with object), OK’d, OK’ing.
to put one’s endorsement on or indicate one’s approval of (a request, piece of copy, bank check, etc.); authorize; initial:
Would you OK my application?
Oklahoma (approved especially for use with zip code).

1839, only survivor of a slang fad in Boston and New York c.1838-9 for abbreviations of common phrases with deliberate, jocular misspellings (e.g. K.G. for “no go,” as if spelled “know go;” N.C. for “’nuff ced;” K.Y. for “know yuse”). In the case of O.K., the abbreviation is of “oll korrect.”

Probably further popularized by use as an election slogan by the O.K. Club, New York boosters of Democratic president Martin Van Buren’s 1840 re-election bid, in allusion to his nickname Old Kinderhook, from his birth in the N.Y. village of Kinderhook. Van Buren lost, the word stuck, in part because it filled a need for a quick way to write an approval on a document, bill, etc. Spelled out as okeh, 1919, by Woodrow Wilson, on assumption that it represented Choctaw okeh “it is so” (a theory which lacks historical documentation); this was ousted quickly by okay after the appearance of that form in 1929. Greek immigrants to America who returned home early 20c. having picked up U.S. speech mannerisms were known in Greece as okay-boys, among other things.

The noun is first attested 1841; the verb 1888. Okey-doke is student slang first attested 1932.



Right; that’s understood, let’s get on: So I told you about that, okay, so the next thing was he jumped the fence


Yes; I agree; I accept that; I will do that


Is that all right? is that understood? COPPISH: I’m going now, okay?

[1839+; origin uncertain and the subject of essay after essay; Allen Walker Read is the great authority and has shown that the locution began as a bumpkin-imitating game among New York and Boston writers in the early 1800s, who used OK for ”oll korrect”]


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