U.S. Hero Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben and the origin of the word "Okay" ( O.K.)

Posted in United States , Other | 03-Mar-03 | Author: Henning - Hubertus von Steuben

In the entire world Prussian general Friederich Wilhelm von Steuben is well known as American liberty hero and outstanding symbol of the German - American friendship. But only some people know, that he also created the best known word of the world.

Not only in English language countries but also in whole western and eastern europe the expression "O.K." is synonymous for "alright" or "I understand"- after estimate of linguistic researchers the best known word of the world. A daily used idiom, of which the origin also goes back on Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben.

In English-German dictionaries "ok" is explained as shortened form for "all correct" in the meaning of "good" and "without mistakes". US general von Steuben, who had to manufacture many reports in his function, also made use of this expression - when he gave his blessing to a paper, he put he the two words "all correct" under this. Because of his unsatisfactory knowledge of the English orthography, he wrote however the "a" (of "all") down for "o" - like it sounds phonetically - and the "c" (of "correct") for "k", because it was written in his German mother tongue the same way.

Since every soldier of the US army knew the meaning of the two words "oll korrekt" (german version), Steuben was finally satisfied to abbreviate the remark by the two first letters "o.k." and put this next to his signature. Because the "k" is said however in english as "kay", the expression "okay" later arose from this and began his triumphal march around the world.