This is OK


The Linguaphile's Almanac

OK is probably the most successful word in the history of English. Bill Bryson says in Mother Tongue: The Story of the English Language:

Of all the new words to issue from the New World, the quintessential Americanism without any doubt was O.K. Arguably America’s single greatest gift to international discourse, O.K. is the most grammatically versatile of words, able to serve as an adjective (“Lunch was O.K.”), verb (“Can you O.K. this for me?”), noun (“I need your O.K. on this”), interjection (“O.K., I hear you”), and adverb ( ‘We did O.K.”). It can carry shades of meaning that range from casual assent (“Shall we go?” “O.K.”), to great enthusiasm (“O. K.!”), to lukewarm endorsement (“The party was O.K.”), to a more or less meaningless filler of space (“O.K., can I have your attention please?”). It is a curious fact that the most successful and widespread of all English…

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