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The Straight Dope: What Does "OK" stand for?http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/503/what-does-ok-stand-forLinguistically, America is A-OKhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/29/AR2010102907644.htmlThe 'O' Wordhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/books/review/Blount-t.html?src=meAmerican Languages: Our Nation's Many Voiceshttp://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/AmerLangs/Dictionary of American Regional Englishhttp://dare.wisc.edu/So how do you use the word "OK"? Do you use it to mean agreement with a friend you are talking with? Perhaps it is best saved as a conversational placeholder, or to indicate, "Yes, I am still listening." And we haven't even started talking about whether it should be written as "O.K.", "Okay", or just plain-old "OK". The word has been in the news of late due a recent book on the subject by Allan Metcalf, a professor of English at MacMurray College in Illinois. Metcalf has been fascinated with the word for years, and in the book he reveals the story of the true origins of this curious word. Apparently, a number of newspaper editors in Boston were sitting around in 1839 joking about abbreviations they had come up with over the past several hours. They had begun to use "OFM" ("our first men), "GT" ("gone to Texas"), and "SP" ('"small potatoes"). "OK" was thrown around at this bull session to abbreviate the phrase "All correct", and it soon entered the American consciousness in a political setting. In 1840, a group of individuals supporting President Martin Van Buren's re-election campaign began to form OK Clubs to support their man. President Van Buren was from Kinderhook, New York, and he had acquired the nickname "Old Kinderhook". The OK Clubs adopted the slogan "OK is OK" and this bit of phrasing began to enter the firmament of American phraseology from that point on.The first link will take users to a talk with Allan Metcalf about his recent book from NPR's "All Things Considered". The second link will whisk users to a Straight Dope column on the origins of "OK". Moving along, the third link leads to a review of Metcalf's book by Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post. The fourth link leads to another review of the book by Roy Blount Jr. which appeared in this past Friday's New York Times. The fifth link leads to the American Languages: Our Nation's Many Voices digital project from the University of Wisconsin. Here visitors can listen to audio recordings documenting linguistic diversity in the United States. The final link leads to the Dictionary of American Regional English project, based at the University of Wisconsin. Here visitors can learn about which parts of the United States use the words darning needle, ear cutter, snake doctor, or snake feeder.
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