OK is such a common word that many of us never even think about where it came from. It’s a word that is at once somehow very modern and yet also timeless. There isn’t a time in living memory among English speakers when the word wasn’t in use, which proves that it’s actually quite an old word. It’s sometimes spelled out as “okay” but the word isn’t a word by itself- or rather it wasn’t originally. OK is actually an acronym for two words and the use of OK was created from a long-running joke.

Via/ Flickr

Young people in New England in the 1830s had a joke that was not unlike many of the memes and text-based jokes that are circulating today. It was customary for them to respond to each other in acronyms, except these acronyms were purposefully misspelled, leaving the recipient of the joke to try and guess what was truly meant. It created a game out of everyday speech and it would have taken a sharp wit to get the gist of it. OK was born from this long-running joke, but you may not know what it actually stands for. But, when it was first published in the Boston Morning Post in 1839 the author made sure to say what the meaning was- even if the joke wasn’t fully explained at the time.

Watch the video below to find out what is really behind the word OK.