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okay

[oh-key, oh-key, oh-key]
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adjective, adverb, interjection, noun, verb (used with object)
  1. OK.
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OK

or O.K., o·kay

[oh-key, oh-key, oh-key]
adjective
  1. all right; proceeding normally; satisfactory or under control: Things are OK at the moment.
  2. correct, permissible, or acceptable; meeting standards: Is this suit OK to wear to a formal party?
  3. doing well or in good health; managing adequately: She's been OK since the operation.
  4. adequate but unexceptional or unremarkable; tolerable: The job they did was OK, nothing more.
  5. estimable, dependable, or trustworthy; likable: an OK person.
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adverb
  1. all right; well enough; successfully; fine: She'll manage OK on her own. He sings OK, but he can't tap dance.
  2. (used as an affirmative response) yes; surely.
  3. (used as an interrogative or interrogative tag) all right?; do you agree?
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interjection
  1. (used to express agreement, understanding, acceptance, or the like): OK, I'll get it for you.
  2. (used as an introductory or transitional expletive): OK, now where were we?
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noun, plural OK's.
  1. an approval, agreement, or endorsement: They gave their OK to her leave of absence.
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verb (used with object), OK'd, OK'ing.
  1. to put one's endorsement on or indicate one's approval of (a request, piece of copy, bank check, etc.); authorize; initial: Would you OK my application?
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Origin of OK

initials of a facetious folk phonetic spelling, e.g., oll or orl korrect representing all correct, first attested in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1839, then used in 1840 by Democrat partisans of Martin Van Buren during his election campaign, who allegedly named their organization, the O.K. Club, in allusion to the initials of Old Kinderhook, Van Buren's nickname, derived from his birthplace Kinderhook, New York

Usage note

Few Americanisms have been more successful than ok, which survived the political campaign of 1840 that fostered it, quickly lost its political significance, and went on to develop use as a verb, adverb, noun, and interjection. The expression was well known in England by the 1880s. Today ok has achieved worldwide recognition and use. It occurs in all but the most formal speech and writing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for okay

OK, authorize, notarize, permitted, good, fair, approved, middling, fine, correct, blessing, benediction, permission, consent, sanction, assent, approbation, favor, say-so, affirmation

Examples from the Web for okay

Contemporary Examples of okay

Historical Examples of okay

  • They did not like punks getting arrested and guns going off without their okay.

    Arm of the Law

    Harry Harrison

  • Okay, Chief, said Carter, though he knew this would be the toughest job yet.

    Spawn of the Comet

    Harold Thompson Rich

  • Mike says it's okay to serve them if they come in from the beach just as they are.

    The Man from Time

    Frank Belknap Long

  • Nobody cares on the Road what you do, so I was okay with my belt-length beard.

    See?

    Edward G. Robles

  • "Okay, Fell," the captain said, without a sign of disapproval.

    Police Your Planet

    Lester del Rey


British Dictionary definitions for okay

okay

sentence substitute, adjective, verb, noun
  1. a variant of O.K.
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OK

abbreviation for
  1. Oklahoma
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for okay

see OK.

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OK

1839, only survivor of a slang fad in Boston and New York c.1838-9 for abbreviations of common phrases with deliberate, jocular misspellings (e.g. K.G. for "no go," as if spelled "know go;" N.C. for "'nuff ced;" K.Y. for "know yuse"). In the case of O.K., the abbreviation is of "oll korrect."

Probably further popularized by use as an election slogan by the O.K. Club, New York boosters of Democratic president Martin Van Buren's 1840 re-election bid, in allusion to his nickname Old Kinderhook, from his birth in the N.Y. village of Kinderhook. Van Buren lost, the word stuck, in part because it filled a need for a quick way to write an approval on a document, bill, etc. Spelled out as okeh, 1919, by Woodrow Wilson, on assumption that it represented Choctaw okeh "it is so" (a theory which lacks historical documentation); this was ousted quickly by okay after the appearance of that form in 1929. Greek immigrants to America who returned home early 20c. having picked up U.S. speech mannerisms were known in Greece as okay-boys, among other things.

The noun is first attested 1841; the verb 1888. Okey-doke is student slang first attested 1932.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper