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Word lovers rejoice as OK celebrates 175 years

Published on Mar 23, 2014 6:54 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Whatever you're doing this Sunday, wherever you might be, take a moment to reflect on the most popular word in the English language, OK? It will be 175 years since OK - or, as some prefer, okay - first appeared in print, on page two of The Boston Morning Post, then one of the most popular newspapers in the United States (US).

"I think OK should be celebrated with parades and speeches," Mr Allan Metcalf, an English professor in Illinois who is the world's leading authority on the history and meaning of OK, told Agence France-Presse. "But for now, whatever you do (to mark the anniversary), it's OK."

In his 2010 book, OK: The Improbable Story Of America's Greatest Word, Mr Metcalf calls OK "the most frequently spoken (or typed) word on the planet" - used more often than "Coke" or an infant's "ma". Concise and utilitarian, it is quintessentially American in its simplicity.

Etymologically, it has no direct relationship with Latin or Greek or any other ancient tongue.

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