There's a two-letter word that we hear everywhere.
OK, are you OK, Annie?
OK，妳 OK 嗎，Annie？
OK, OK, OK, OK, ladies
"OK" might be the most recognizable word on the planet.
It's essential to how we communicate with each other and even with our technology.
Alexa, turn off the living room light.
You probably use it every day even if you don't notice it. But what does OK actually mean? And where did it come from?
你可能每天都會講到這個字，只是你沒注意到。但 OK 究竟是什麼意思？它又是從哪來的？
OK, thank you.
OK actually traces back to an 1830s fad of intentionally misspelling abbreviations.
OK 其實源自於 1830 年代的一個流行，當時大家會故意使用拼錯的縮寫。
Young, intellectual types in Boston delighted those "in the know" with butchered coded messages, such as KC, or "knuff ced (enough said)," KY, "know yuse (no use)," and OW, "oll wright (all right)."
波士頓年輕的知識分子會做作地使用隱晦的密語來彼此開玩笑，像是 KC，也就是「knuff ced（這還用說）」、KY，也就是「know yuse（沒用）」、還有 OW，意思是「oll wright（很好）」。
But thanks to a couple of lucky breaks, one abbreviation rose above the rest: OK, or "Oll Korrect (all correct)." In the early 1800s, "all correct" was a common phrase used to confirm that everything was in order. Its abbreviated cousin started going mainstream on March 23, 1839, when OK was first published in the Boston Morning Post. Soon other papers picked up on the joke and spread it around the country until OK was something everyone knew about, not just a few Boston insiders.
不過因緣際會下，其中一個縮寫脫穎而出：OK，指的是「Oll Korrect（都對）」。在 1800 年代初期，「all correct」是個很常見的片語，用來確認所有事物都井井有條。而 OK 這個變體縮寫自從 1839 年 3 月 23 日首次亮相於《波士頓晨報》後，就進入主流。很快地，其他報紙也爭相效仿，將這個玩笑傳遍全美，直到 OK 變成大家都知道的字，而不是波士頓人的內梗。
And OK's newfound popularity even prompted a flailing U.S. president from Kinderhook, New York, to adopt it as a nickname during his 1840 reelection campaign. Van Buren's supporters formed OK Clubs all over the country, and their message was pretty clear: Old Kinderhook was "oll korrect." The campaign was highly publicized and turned pretty nasty in the press. His opponents ended up turning the abbreviation around on him, saying it stood for "orful konspiracy" or "orful katastrophe."
而 OK 的這股流行甚至促使來自紐約金德胡克的總統狗急跳牆，他在 1840 年的連任選舉中使用 OK 來作為暱稱。Van Buren 的支持者在各地組成 OK 俱樂部，而他們要傳達的訊息很明確：來自老金德胡克（Old Kinderhook）的人就是「對的人（oll korrect）」。這個活動在媒體上大肆曝光，變得很討人厭。他的對手最後還反過來用這個縮寫對付他，說 OK 是在說他是「糟糕的陰謀（orful konspiracy）」或「超級大災難（orful katastrophe）」。
In the end, even a clever nickname didn't save Van Buren's presidency, but it was a win for OK. That 1840 presidential campaign firmly established OK in the American vernacular. And while similar abbreviations fell out of fashion, OK made the crossover from slang into legitimate functional use, thanks to one invention: the telegraph.
最後，即便是這個精妙的暱稱也無法挽回 Van Buren 的選情，但對 OK 來說卻是一場勝仗。那場 1840 年的總統大選確立了 OK 在美國白話文的地位。而雖然其他類似的縮寫都退流行了，OK 從俚語轉變成正式的功能性用詞，這都多虧了電報這一項發明。
If we lower the bridge, the current flows to the sounder. At the other end, the current energizes an electromagnet, and this attracts the armature. The armature clicks down against the screw and taps out a message.
The telegraph debuted in 1844, just five years after OK. It transmitted short messages in the form of electric pulses with combinations of dots and dashes, representing letters of the alphabet. This was OK's moment to shine. The two letters were easy to tap out and very unlikely to be confused with anything else. It was quickly adopted as a standard acknowledgment of a transmission received, especially by operators on the expanding U.S. railroad. This telegraphy manual from 1865 even goes as far as to say that "no message is ever regarded as transmitted until the office receiving it gives OK." OK had become serious business, but there's another big reason the two letters stuck around, and it's not just because they're easy to communicate; it has to do with how OK looks. Or, more specifically, how the letter k looks and sounds.
電報在 1844 年首次亮相，只晚了 OK 五年。電報是以電脈衝的形式傳遞短訊，短訊則由點和劃組成，代表不同的英文字母。這就是 OK 開始發揚光大的時候。這兩個字母很容易打，也很難跟其他字搞混。OK 很快就成為接收訊息的標準回覆，用得最多的，就屬當時正在擴張的美國鐵路操作員。這份 1865 年的電報手冊甚至還明文寫道「除非接收單位回傳 OK，否則訊息不算成功傳出」。OK 開始變成很正式的回應，但還有另一個原因使 OK 歷久不衰，不只是因為易於溝通；這跟 OK 的長相有關。更精確來說，是跟字母 K 的長相和發音有關。
It's really uncommon to start a word with the letter k in English—it's ranked around 22 in the alphabet. That rarity spurred a "Kraze for K" at the turn of the century in advertising and print, where companies replaced hard Cs with Ks in order to "Katch" your eye. The idea was that modifying a word, like Klearflax linen rugs or this Kook-Rite stove, for example, would draw more attention to it. And that's still a visual strategy. We see K represented in modern corporate logos, like Krispy Kreme and Kool-Aid. It's the K that makes it so memorable.
英文中很少單字是以 k 為開頭－－k 在字母中排行第 22 位左右。罕見到在進入廣告和印刷業時代時，掀起了「K 熱潮（Kraze for K）」，公司們紛紛用 K 來取代發音為 [k] 的 C，只為了「吸引（Katch）」你的注意。他們會改動字母，像是 Klearflax 亞麻地毯和 Kook-Rite 爐灶，博取更多眼球。到現在還是有公司會採取這個視覺策略。我們在現代企業商標中還是會看到 K，像是 Krispy Kreme 和 Kool-Aid。就是 K 讓人對這些品牌過目不忘。
By the 1890s, OK's Bostonian origins were already mostly forgotten, and newspapers began to debate its history—often perpetuating myths in the process that some people still believe, like the claim that it comes from the Choctaw word "Oke," which means "so it is."
到 1890 年代，幾乎沒有人記得 OK 是源自波士頓，報章雜誌開始爭論它的歷史－－通常是一些流傳很久的迷思，到現在還有人相信，像是有人說它來自喬克托語中的「Oke」，意思是「就是這樣」。
Choctaw gave us the word OK...
喬克托發明了 OK 這個字...
OK's beginnings had become obscure, but it didn't really matter anymore; the word was embedded in our language. Today, we use it as the ultimate neutral affirmative.
Learn to truly love yourself.
OK. Get yourself up here!
I don't know what to say.
It's settled, then!
Allan Metcalf wrote the definitive history of OK, and he explains that the word affirms without evaluating, meaning it doesn't convey any feelings; it just acknowledges and accepts information. If you got home OK, it just means you were unharmed. If your food was OK, then it was acceptable. And OK confirms a change of plans. It's sort of a reflex at this point, we don't even keep track of how much we use it, which might be why OK was arguably the first word spoken when humans landed on the Moon.
Allan Metcalf 為 OK 寫下了明確的歷史，他解釋 OK 的這種肯定不包含評價，意思是它不傳達任何感受；只是表達知道和接受資訊。如果你 OK 地回到家，只代表你沒有受傷。如果你覺得食物 OK，意思是可以接受。OK 也能確定接受計畫變更。現在已經變得有點像反射，我們甚至不會注意到自己說了多少次 OK，這也就是為什麼，人類登陸月球時的第一句話可能就是 OK。
Contact light. OK. Engine stop.
We copy you down, Eagle.
Not bad for a corny joke from the 1830s. All right, guys. Cut it out.
這種 1830 年代的老掉牙笑話真不賴。好了，閉嘴吧。