O.K.

   , OK
   No consensus exists on the derivation of OK. Some say it was an abbreviation used by lumbermen who cut oak trees for furniture. The bestquality oak was "Oak A." Or was it a Choctaw Indian word spelled "Okeh," meaning "it is"? Another theory is that it represented the initials of a railroad clerk, Obadiah Kelly, who stamped OK on parcels for shipment. Then again, bananas without flaws were designated au quai—that is, ready to go to the quay for loading. Hence OK.
   But the largest following among word authorities is that the genesis of OK can be found in the name of the O.K. Democratic Club, a group that during the presidential campaign of 1840 used the symbol O.K. as its rallying slogan on behalf of Martin Van Buren (1782-1862). Van Buren had adopted the nickname "Old Kinderhook" to refer to his birthplace near Albany and to emphasize his farming background. Van Buren's father was a farmer, and Martin, when a boy, helped with the plow. "Old Kinderhook" became shortened to "O.K.," and the voters were exhorted to "vote right, vote O.K." Van Buren entered the White House for a four-year stay, but his symbol OK became the permanent symbol in the language of the world for "all right." OK has attained such universal acceptance that it vies with Coca-Cola as the best-known term on earth.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

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