Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS - OK, by Allan Metcalf

Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS - OK, by Allan Metcalf

Article excerpt

One of Allan Metcalf's content ion s in OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word is that the two letters have become America's philosophy: 'we don't insist that everything be perfect; OK is good enough'. It's a pity that his book proves the point .

There are occasional snippets of interest . Modern texters shorten the word to 'k ' (how lazy can a thumb get? ), while NASA were the first to lengthen it with an initial 'A', seeking clarity amid radio static. Baseball pitchers sometimes employ an 'OK' grip, the finger position coinciding with the word in American sign language. Its popularity was boosted by the spread of the telegraph, where brevity reigned. The first 'okay' was in Little Women.

Essentially, though, this is an interesting magazine article stretched until it snaps. …

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