OK: The Improbable Story of Americas Greatest Word

Book review: 'O.K.: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word' by Allan Metcalf.

Pretty interesting but a little long-winded. Don't read it if you don't want to be extremely aware of every time someone says 'okay. May 14, Mark Cheathem rated it it was ok. Jun 11, Steve Wiggins rated it really liked it. The title says it all. In this brief book Allan Metcalf traces the history of the word OK through its probable beginnings as a joke up through its widespread usage today.

Recognized and assimilated into nearly every language in the world, it is one of the most understood words of all time. The book doesn't intend to offer great profundity. It's simply a quick and interesting story of how a simple neologism became a worldwide force. As with any book based on examples, there are some that will work The title says it all. As with any book based on examples, there are some that will work with readers better than others. This doesn't prevent the book from being enjoyable, however.

Fun and informative, it won't demand much of your time and you're sure to learn something along the way. Nov 26, Memory Toast rated it liked it Shelves: I read this over the course of the couple months in short, short snippets. A book that is a little informative, sometimes entertaining, and easy to put-down and pick-up again, it makes for good light reading.

Nov 27, Shane Moore rated it it was ok Shelves: Is there enough worth saying about this one word to fill a book, even a short book? Yes, but only barely. I found some interesting material stretched thin across too many pages and with too much scaffolding. If you're ambivalent about your logophilia, pass on this. Oct 24, Simmoril rated it liked it.

Although some might strictly go by the title and assume this book isn't exactly the page-turner of the century, I had high hopes for Metcalf's book as I maintain a somewhat fleeting interest in etymology, and the story of the word 'ok' seemed too good to pass up. To open, Metcalf walks the author through various aspects of the word ok: He then goes in-depth through some of the incorrect stories of ok's beginnings Although some might strictly go by the title and assume this book isn't exactly the page-turner of the century, I had high hopes for Metcalf's book as I maintain a somewhat fleeting interest in etymology, and the story of the word 'ok' seemed too good to pass up.

He then goes in-depth through some of the incorrect stories of ok's beginnings, and finally explores the usage of throughout literature in the 20th and 21st centuries. Alas, Metcalf's book proved to be a little too dry for my taste. The story of ok's true origins turned out to be quite short, and the book took on a somewhat monotonous tone, with excerpt after excerpt filling out much of the book.

Although I found a few good nuggets of information, by the end it felt more like a random hodgepodge of anecdotes that didn't really point to an overall theme.

Feb 27, Ariadna73 rated it really liked it Shelves: Check out what I wrote in my blog: This is the incredible story of a very small; awkward word that made its way to world fame and general use and understanding. The book tells a little bit about the origin of the word the time it was used for the first time in a little Boston newspaper March 23th ; as a joke of a misspelled oll korrect ; and then navigates through all the imaginable examples on how it is used in all the literature and speech not onl Check out what I wrote in my blog: The book tells a little bit about the origin of the word the time it was used for the first time in a little Boston newspaper March 23th ; as a joke of a misspelled oll korrect ; and then navigates through all the imaginable examples on how it is used in all the literature and speech not only in English; but in other languages as well.

The book is full of anecdotes and literary examples that include a vast sort of excerpts such as the classics; and even political discourse. It is by no means boring but a very entertaining book. Apr 17, Alexa rated it it was amazing Shelves: I might be more in the neighborhood of 4. In short, I loved it.

How Big Oil Conquered the World

Great balance between academic integrity all the primary evidence in the form of quotes made my English teacher heart soar and accessible style. Like having a fascinating conversation with someone who knows his stuff and loves his subject. Yes, I skimmed a lot of the longer quotes. My favorite was the Louisa May Alcott.

OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word by Allan Metcalf: review

May 14, Marks54 rated it liked it. It is informative in outlining all the ways in which this word is used and its variety of meanings. It is also funny and interesting in showing the odd ways in which words develop and come to be used. There are lots and lots of examples and I learned many factoids that I had not previously known. The limitation, of course, is that even for a book about a word as interesting as OK. As a result, the book seems a bit stretched for what is actually provided, but on the whole the book was Dec 11, Barb rated it liked it.

It was just too easy to rate OK as ok, although lots of people probably will. There are as many interesting facts as there are not so interesting facts. I won't give anything else away, but I did mostly enjoy reading this skinny book. Dec 14, Pancha rated it liked it Shelves: This little books packs in quite a bit of information, including the birth of OK, a timeline of usage, various false origin stories, literary quotes from the ages, and it's international appeal.

I knew the basic story of how it was coined, but this elaborated quite a bit and I would consider it worth your time if you like the history of words. Mar 15, Indah Threez Lestari rated it liked it Shelves: Buset dah, perlu satu buku cuman buat ngebahas asal usul kata OK ini kata atau singkatan atau kata yang berasal dari singkatan? Jun 16, James rated it really liked it. Yes, there really is an entire book about the word "OK. If etymology is your thing, and you love the English language and how it is used, you will enjoy this book!

Dec 23, Academic Eric marked it as researched-read-some Shelves: So does the attitude that goes along with this word. I got most of the way done with book. It was really interesting, just not interesting enough to hold my attention for the whole thing, apparently.

See a Problem?

Oct 26, Stephen Ginochio rated it it was ok. Still unsure about the origin of the word although the author makes good cases for it. Jul 08, Cate rated it it was ok Shelves: I've read better secret histories. The problem was that the author set it up as a mystery and, in fact, it's quite straight forward. Nov 02, Matthew Wilson rated it liked it. It was just OK. Feb 20, Angela Randall marked it as to-read Shelves: Here's an article on this topic.

Mar 25, Will rated it it was ok. I felt that it got bogged down for me in the examples of OK is other works. Perhaps if it were footnotes.

The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word

Nov 28, Jen Johnson rated it it was ok Shelves: Overall an interesting discussion, but as with many others I agree that this book was too long. Nov 01, Jorge Ribas rated it liked it. This book should have been a nice magazine article.

  • Enforcing Justice [The Society 3].
  • .
  • .
  • Carthaginian Empire 15 - Empires?
  • The LochnerCourt, Myth and Reality: Substantive Due Process from the 1890s to the 1930s?
  • STC (Satellite Test Center) (Samantha Matijevic Book 3).

Plodding and just over-wrought. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Books by Allan Metcalf. When your day is uneventful, "OK" is all you need to say about it.

It is said to be the most frequently spoken (or typed) word on the planet, more common than an infant's first word ma or the ever-present beverage Coke. It was . OK has ratings and 35 reviews. Glenn said: If you think it would be really exciting to read the actual story of how OK got started (which takes abo.

On the other hand, the word conveys a sharp criticism when it's all you can muster to tell your sister what you think of her new boyfriend. No invention — except maybe the elastic waistband — has the stretching power of "OK. But is it really "America's greatest word"? That's what Allan Metcalf declares in the subtitle of his new book, "O. Getting to that humble origin is tricky since there are so many rumors surrounding it.

Also Available As:

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. Overall an interesting discussion, but as with many others I agree that this book was too long. He points out that the word is also about acceptance. What about Todd Beamer's famous "OK, let's roll! In some cases the padding was entertaining, so I didn't mind. And is it a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, or interjection? It was also bandied about and celebrated by social groups and political parties for instance, it became a rallying cry for supporters of President Martin Van Buren, known as "Old Kinderhook".

In the process of reviewing contending theories, Metcalf's book is a reminder of the crazy-quilt nature of English, a big, messy stew of collisions among languages and slang expressions. See if you can pick the real origin of "OK" according to Metcalf from the spurious ones:. Kendall and Sons stamped Army biscuits with the initials of the firm. It was an editor's joke, an abbreviation for a misspelled version of the phrase "all correct.

It was also bandied about and celebrated by social groups and political parties for instance, it became a rallying cry for supporters of President Martin Van Buren, known as "Old Kinderhook". Its humble origin also was challenged by a grander story that it was created at the inkwell of another American leader, Andrew Jackson, a notoriously poor speller he "had more spirit than spelling," Metcalf says.

Old Hickory, the story goes, would show his approval of any document by initialing it with the letters "O.