Now, the VOA Learning English program, Words and Their Stories.
Millions of people all over the world use the word okay.In fact, some people say the word is used more often than any other word in the world.
It may be common, but no one can seem to agree on how the “OK” came to be. Faith Lapidus tells us more.
Okay means “all right” or “acceptable.” It expresses agreement or approval. You might ask your brother, “Is it okay if I borrow your car?” Or if someone asks you to do something, you might say, “Okay, I will.” Still, language experts do not agree about where the word came from.
Some people say it came from the Native American Indian tribe known as the Choctaw. The Choctaw word “okeh” means the same as the American word okay. Experts say early explorers in the American West spoke the Choctaw language in the nineteenth century. The language spread across the country.
But many people dispute this.
Language expert Allen Walker Read wrote about the word okay in reports published in the 1960s. He said the word began being used in the 1830s. It was a short way of writing a different spelling of the words “all correct.” Some foreign-born people wrote “all correct” as “o-l-l k-o-r-r-e-c-t,” and used the letters O.K.
语言专家艾伦·沃克·瑞德（Allen Walker Read）撰写了有关okay这个单词的报道发表在20世纪60年代。他说，这个词在19世纪30年代开始被使用。它是all correct另一种拼写的缩写。一些外国出生的人把all correct写成oll korrect，并用O.K.作为缩写。
|In this 1985 file photo, President Ronald Reagan gives the A OK sign from the window of his hospital room at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland as first lady Nancy Reagan waves to a small group below. The president is recovering from surgery performed Saturday to remove a cancerous polyp. (AP Photo/Scott Stewart)|
Other people say a railroad worker named Obadiah Kelly invented the word long ago. They said he put the first letters of his names -- O and K -- on each object people gave him to send on the train.
Still others say a political organization invented the word. The organization supported Martin Van Buren for president in 1840. They called their group, the O.K. Club. The letters were taken from the name of the town where Martin Van Buren was born — Old Kinderhook, New York.
还有人说，一家政治组织发明了这个单词。该组织在1840年支持马丁·范布伦（Martin Van Buren）竞选总统。他们称自己的组织是O.K. Club。这些字母取自范布伦出生的小镇--纽约的Old Kinderhook。
Not everyone agrees with this explanation, either. But experts do agree that the word is purely American. And it has spread to almost every country on Earth.
Then there is the expression A-Okay. This means everything is fine. A-Okay is a space-age expression. It was used in 1961 during the flight of astronaut Alan Shepard. He was the first American to be launched into space. His flight ended when his spacecraft landed in the ocean, as planned. Shepard reported: "Everything is A-Okay.”
再有就是A-Okay这种表达。这意味着一切都好。A-Okay是一种太空时代的表达。1961年宇航员艾伦·谢泼德（Alan Shepard）在飞行期间用到了它。他是首位被送上太空的美国人。他的飞行以飞船按计划降落到海洋中结束。谢泼德报告说，“Everything is A-Okay.”
However, some experts say the expression did not begin with the space age. One story says it was first used during the early days of the telephone to tell an operator that a message had been received.
There are also funny ways to say okay. Some people say okey-dokey or okey-doke. These expressions were first used in the 1930s. Today, a character on the American television series, “The Simpsons,” says it another way. He says okely-dokely.
Thanks, Faith. This program was written by Shelley Gollust.
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