Allan Metcalf

Articles by Allan Metcalf


Okey-dokey! The story of the birth of OK’s playful grandchild

By the early twentieth century, OK was no longer a joke. The letters O and K did not prompt memories of the misspelled oll korrect, nor did they stimulate alternative explanations. In the nineteenth century, OK was recognized as a humorous abbreviation, but in the twentieth, it was understood merely as an arbitrary combination of […]


The elusive origin of OK

Epicures of etymologies could scarcely ask for a more delicious dish than OK. Yes, OK—America’s greatest contribution to the English language, and the most successful export from English to other languages around the world. By its looks and sound, OK is an odd concoction, with little resemblance to anything else in the language. And by […]

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