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o.k. / Wo stammt es her?

English translation: oll korrect (US)

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German term or phrase:o.k. / Wo stammt es her?
English translation:oll korrect (US)
Entered by: jkjones
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18:06 Oct 22, 2002
German to English translations [Non-PRO]
German term or phrase: o.k. / Wo stammt es her?
Vor einigen Minuten wurde in der Fernsehsendung "Galileo" die Frage behandelt, woher das "ok" (in Ordnung) eigentlich stammt. Es müsste ja logischerweise aus dem Englischen stammen.

Wer kennt die Antwort? Es interessiert mich einfach persönlich sehr.

oll korrect (US)
according to my Oxford English dictionary!
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Local time: 11:16
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Summary of answers provided
5 +1many options
4 +2oll korrect (US)
5Herkunft nicht ganz klar...
4all correct



8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
oll korrect (US)

according to my Oxford English dictionary!

Local time: 11:16
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 153
Grading comment
Graded automatically based on peer agreement. KudoZ.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Chris Rowson: Maybe they should update the dictionary - we were saying this in rural, non-internationalised England over forty years ago. How much longer it has been current, I can´t say. Alice Clark?
6 hrs

agree  Jacqueline McKay
15 days
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8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
all correct

Ask Bjørn Hansen: OK is All Correct... - ... May 08, 2002. OK is All Correct... ... OK was used in March 1839 as an abbreviation for all correct, the joke being that neither the O nor the K was correct. ...
http://www.askbjoernhansen.com/archives/2002/05/08/000039.ht... search within this site

Idiomsite.com - Origins Of Common Sayings - ... (23 March) "He of the Journal...would have the "contribution box," et ceteras, ok--all correct--and cause the corks to fly, like sparks, upward." (26 March ...

Present at the Creation: The Origin of OK - audio archive of an NPR feature tracing the roots and evolution of O.K., okay, and OK.
More sites about: Languages > Specific Words and Phrases

PRO pts in pair: 128
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14 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Herkunft nicht ganz klar...

OK is a quintessentially American term that has spread from English to many other languages. Its origin was the subject of scholarly debate for many years until Allen Walker Read showed that OK is based on a joke of sorts. OK is first recorded in 1839 but was probably in circulation before that date. During the 1830s there was a humoristic fashion in Boston newspapers to reduce a phrase to initials and supply an explanation in parentheses. Sometimes the abbreviations were misspelled to add to the humor. OK was used in March 1839 as an abbreviation for all correct, the joke being that neither the O nor the K was correct. Originally spelled with periods, this term outlived most similar abbreviations owing to its use in President Martin Van Buren's 1840 campaign for reelection. Because he was born in Kinderhook, New York, Van Buren was nicknamed Old Kinderhook, and the abbreviation proved eminently suitable for political slogans. That same year, an editorial referring to the receipt of a pin with the slogan O.K. had this comment: “frightful letters … significant of the birth-place of Martin Van Buren, old Kinderhook, as also the rallying word of the Democracy of the late election, ‘all correct’ …. Those who wear them should bear in mind that it will require their most strenuous exertions … to make all things O.K.”

Note added at 2002-10-22 18:22:54 (GMT)

Ja, natürlich aus dem Englischen

Local time: 06:16
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 236
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31 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
many options

In spite of its wide recognition, the origin of OK is shrouded in mystery. We know nothing at all of it before its appearance in the Boston Morning Post on 23 March 1839 in this context: "he of the Journal, and his train-band, would have the 'contributions box,' et ceteras, o.k.--all correct--and cause the corks to fly." This is a facetious suggestion by a Boston editor that a Providence editor (the Journal mentioned was in Providence) sponsor a party. How OK came from all correct and how it spread from here requires setting forth some background.
First, there were the newspapers. Before the existence of wire services, an American newspaper got most of its out-of-town news from others with which it exchanged copies. Interesting items would simply be reprinted from other newspapers. And early nineteenth-century newspapers were not like their utterly serious modern counterparts: there was plenty of room in them for humor, poetry, fiction, and jabs at other newspapers. The first OK example is part of a humorous reply to an item reprinted from the Providence newspaper.

Second, there was the abbreviation fad. Among the young and fashionable set in American cities in the late 1830s, the thing to do was to reduce phrases to initials. A New York newspaper in 1839 reported an au courant young lady as remarking to her escort, "O.K.K.B.W.P." The young man paused, then kissed her. The reporter interpreted the initialism as "One Kind Kiss Before We Part." What the fashionable set says and does often turns up in the newspaper, and the fad for initials did turn up in Boston newspapers in the summer of 1838, in New York in the summer of 1839, and in New Orleans in the fall of 1839. Probably the exchange of newspapers helped spread the fad.

Third, there was the tradition of deliberate misspelling in humorous writing. Many American humorists from the 1820s on adopted as public personas uneducated bumpkins who communicated their observations in dialect made more dense by pointless misspelling. It is this tradition that turns no go into know go and no use into know yuse.

At the height of the initials craze it became fashionable to alter some of the abbreviations on the basis of such misspelling. Thus A.R. for all right was transformed to O.W. on the basis of oll wright and N.G. for no go to K.G. These altered abbreviations were often glossed with the straight spelling of the full phrase: a fanciful K.K.K. would turn out to to stand for commit no nuisance. The first OK is glossed all correct; it is in this context that the OK is assumed to be based on the deliberately misspelled oll korrect.

Even though OK became one of the more commonly used initialisms, it might well have passed into oblivion with the equally popular OFM (our first men) when the fad passed, had it not been for the presidential election of 1840. In that year the Tammany Democrats in New York created a Democratic O.K. Club. The O.K. in this name was derived from Old Kinderhook, after Kinderhook, New York, the birthplace of Martin Van Buren, the Democratic candidate. It is rather likely that Old Kinderhook was selected with an eye to the currently popular OK, much as the expressions that make up modern acronyms are chosen with an eye to making a catchy set of initials.

The O.K.'s seem to have been mostly a bunch of bully boys and rowdies whose purpose was to harass or break up Whig meetings (both sides retained plenty of rowdies). The activities of the O.K.'s kept them in the newspapers, and both sides made use of the currency of OK by contriving expansions with which they could slur each other. The heat of the campaign carried O.K., in one signification or another (often 'oll korrect'), across the country. When Van Buren lost the election, the Whigs flaunted OK for his departure: "Off to Kinderhook."

The campaign gave another boost to OK. A Whig journalist floated the story that OK was used by Andrew Jackson as standing for Ole Korrek (later oll korrect), which was supposed to be Jackson's spelling of all correct. This was a reference to the presidential campaign of 1828 in which Jackson's bad spelling was a campaign issue. (But oll korrect was not part of that campaign.) Quite a few newspapers reprinted this story in one form or another, and one enterprising journalist laid the story to Jack Downing, the popular creation of humorist Seba Smith. Through frequent reprinting of the tale, OK and oll korrect and Andrew Jackson became fixed in American folklore. Jackson was frequently named as the originator of the abbreviation in later nineteenth-century explanations.

The practice of concocting fanciful expansions of OK continued in the newspapers for some years after the 1840 campaign. One of the results of this journalistic playfulness was that the real origins--so far as we know them--were forgotten, except for the persistence of the Andrew Jackson tale. Consequently, interested writers of letters to the editor offered many explanations of the origin. Several origins were supposedly discovered in other languages: Latin, Greek, Scottish, French, Finnish, Anglo-Saxon via Swedish, Mandingo, and Wolof were offered. One of the post persistent of these was Choctaw okeh. This etymon was suggested in 1885, and Andrew Jackson was involved in the story again--this time not through bad spelling but through his borrowing from the Choctaw Indians. This origin was believed by Woodrow Wilson, who wrote okeh on papers he approved. He was asked why he did not us O.K. "Because it is wrong," he replied.

This is what we know of OK so far. It is largely based on the research of Allen Walker Read as set forth in much greater detail in several issues of American Speech in 1963 and 1964. Professor Read seems rather to expect earlier evidence to be unearthed--a small-town Illinois newspaper in 1840 claimed that the abbreviation craze originated in Chicago in 1835--but it has not been discovered yet. The earliest unequivocal O.K.'s are found in Elizabethan English--one in a work written by Gabriel Harvey in 1593 that calls "H.N. an O.K." and repeating of the same in a 1596 work by Thomas Nashe, replying to Harvey. No one has figured out what this O.K. stands for, but it is clearly a noun and not the American OK.

Local time: 12:16
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in SwedishSwedish
PRO pts in pair: 53

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nancy Arrowsmith: good research
2 hrs
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