Reader’s Forum [Archives:2003/626/Education]

March 10 2003

Aldobal Abdullah Yahya
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Dear Dr. Ramakanta Sahu,
I would like to refer to the article written by Dr. Mahmudul Hassain, titled 'Men behind the words' in your issue No. 620 dated 27/1/2003, which was very interesting.
I have something to add about a word that is most frequently used, but many of us are ignorant about its origin. This word is 'OK'.
Candidly speaking, the word bewildered me for more than thirty years. Although I have gone through all dictionaries to find its origin, yet all my effort failed. It was only accidentally I found out answer in a book of General Knowledge.
According to this source 'O' stands for Old and 'K' stands for Kinderhook, which combine to indicate the name of a city in the United States of America called 'Old Kinderhook”. In 1837, a citizen of this city called Mr. Martin Van Buren was a candidate in the presidential election for the United States of America. His supporters raised placards bearing the phrase: Elect the son of Old Kinderhook and marched in the streets shouting this slogan. Thereafter, the slogan was shortened to : elect the son of O. K.
Fortunately, he won the election and became the President of USA.
From that time, the two alphabet were introduced into the English language as a sign of approval and acceptance. Is it not very interesting?
Yours faithfully.

Dear Mr. Yahya,
Thanks for your response. We would appreciate more contributions from you in future. Please email your responses.
)Dr. Sahu