Apropos Translation: Words in my brain


A guest blog by CTA member Maria M. Rivera
2013 ©

Sometimes I wonder how beautiful words get mangled and eventually mutate into things like “Okey-dokey.” Okey dokey is mutation of “OK,” sometimes spelled out as “okay,” “ok” or “Ok.” And of course, perhaps I shouldn’t be too hard on okey dokey, after all OK is a mutation of its own.

OK, was originally the abbreviation for “oll korrect,” that’s right – not “all correct” but “oll korrect.” Somewhere in my brain, I have a vague memory of sitting in a US History class in high school… last seat second row – and taking notes about the origin of OK. Some early US president would sign the top of briefs with “O.K.” to signify that the information held in the brief was “oll korrect.”  Of course, don’t take me completely at my word – I wouldn’t trust a high school memory, God knows  teenage angst can turn anything into poetry, and I’m pretty sure even my US History notes didn’t escape that angst. But despite all that, I have to admit I still like the word OK, and okay is also OK with me. OK means that something is acceptable, it’s good. OK is okay. But – okey dokey on the other hand makes me cringe. It doesn’t roll off my tongue. My brain registers “monkey donkey” as a reference. And, if I was to translate okey dokey… well, what is an okey dokey anyway?  Noun? Verb? Adjective? An expression? What kind of expression? And who says okey dokey? People for whom OK is not good enough, like people who say anywho instead of anyhow?

Ah! Now I’m getting a headache, and that’s not OK.

For more information on OK, visit the Online Etymology Dictionary.