Thursday, July 05, 2007

Oh, I'm Okay

When someone asks how I am, I sometimes reply, “OK.” OK feels like a noncommittal word, meaning not great but not bad either. However, as a child, I used to think that the big red K on the Kellogg’s cereal box stood for OK. It was a healthy and bright word back then.

I realized, that I really didn’t know what OK meant. I looked it up in my Canadian Dictionary and discovered that it is an abbreviated form for the words, “orl (or oll) korrect". Further study into the etymology of OK revealed that the term originated in Boston newspapers in 1839. There was a humoristic fad at that time to reduce phrases to their initials then supply sometimes incorrect spellings in parenthesis. OK (oll korrect) should really have been OK (all correct). Get the joke? It wasn’t all correct!

After studying this word, OK, I found that it is a vague and even misleading term. So if you ask me how I am doing, I might be OK or might be OK in another more literal sense which actually means I’m not OK.

What a suitable word for all occasions.

10 comments:

aurora said...

OK.....:)

Pat Paulk said...

Is this like yes means no, no means yes??

Carol said...

Hello!

Pat,yes can mean yes or no...

rdl said...

So, are you OK?

Carol said...

I would say so, RDL!

sonia bergman said...

when I say I'm OK it means OK for me, but not too well.

Imran said...

I will most times answer "Good, thank you."

And "Not too good..." to my doctor whenever I see him... that is if I don't have a bad sore throat.

Thanks for sharing what OK exactly means. You're alright!

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

When I see the Kellogg's "K" I thing Grrrrreat! (Tony the Tiger) :)

wandi said...

When I say ok, I mean , so so, or alright. So your definition is right on in my books. If I was great I would tell a person I am great, or fantastic. So when you say okay, to me it means you are not great, good or fantastic, but you are just ok! Means you could be better!

Pearl said...

noncomittal joy, literal or sarcastic. yep, very useful.