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OK

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It is good to see this paperback edition of OK – the book that charts the rise of the word OK from its inception to its current standing as perhaps the most international of words.

Unusually, we know the exact date on which OK was first used. It was invented by the editor of the Boston Morning Post, and first appeared in its edition of 23 March 1839. After that OK could have faded from use as quickly as it arrived, but it was picked up and used in the 1840 presidential elections.

It has now become sufficiently versatile to be used as an adjective, an adverb, a noun, a verb, and an interjection. Like many words it took time to achieve respectability, now it is used by just about every writer and speaker and can even claim to have been the first word spoken on the moon, with Buzz Aldrin’s ‘OK. Engine stop’ coming seconds before Neil Armstrong’s famous words.

 

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