[lit-ideas] Re: America's Greatest Word

  • From: Mike Geary <jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2010 18:32:32 -0500

Well, OK, then.  That's settled.

Mike Geary
OK in Memphis

On Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 3:59 PM, <Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx> wrote:

> From amazon.
> ----
> "Metcalf has produced a complete and completely entertaining history of the
>  most American of all expressions. More than 'just OK' -- revelatory and
> engrossing."--Erin McKean, CEO of wordnik.com, author of Weird and
> Wonderful
> Words, More Weird and Wonderful Words, and former Editor-in-Chief, Oxford
> American Dictionaries
> It is said to be the most frequently spoken (or  typed) word on the planet,
> more common than an infant's first word ma or the  ever-present beverage
> Coke. It was even the first word spoken on the moon. It is  "OK"-- the most
> ubiquitous and invisible of American expressions, one used  countless times
> every day. Yet few of us know the secret history of OK--how it  was coined,
> what it stood for, and the amazing extent of its  influence.
> Allan Metcalf, a renowned popular writer on language, here  traces the
> evolution of America's most popular word, writing with brevity and  wit,
> and
> ranging across American history with colorful portraits of the nooks  and
> crannies in which OK survived and prospered. He describes how OK was born
> as  a
> lame joke in a newspaper article in 1839--used as a supposedly humorous
> abbreviation for "oll korrect" (ie, "all correct")--but should have died a
> quick
>  death, as most clever coinages do. But OK was swept along in a
> nineteenth-century fad for abbreviations, was appropriated by a
> presidential  campaign
> (one of the candidates being called "Old Kinderhook"), and finally was
> picked up by operators of the telegraph. Over the next century and a half,
> it
> established a firm toehold in the American lexicon, and eventually became
> embedded in pop culture, from the "I'm OK, You're OK" of 1970's
> transactional
>  analysis, to Ned Flanders' absurd "Okeley Dokeley!" Indeed, OK became
> emblematic  of a uniquely American attitude, and is one of our most
> successful
> global  exports.
> Anyone who loves the life of words or the quirky corners of  American
> culture will find this delightful book more than just OK.
> About the  Author
> Allan Metcalf is Professor of English at MacMurray College and  Executive
> Secretary of the American Dialect Society. He is the author of many  books,
> including most recently Writing to the Point:, Sixth Edition  (2008).
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
> digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: