February 12, 2020

Random Acronym Wednesday (RAW!), pt. II

DNA = deoxyribonucleic acid
(pronounced “dee-OX-ee-RY-bo-noo-CLAY-ick acid”)

TNT = trinitrotoluene
(pronounced “try-nitro-TAAL-yoo-ween”)

OK = “oll korrect,” a humorous misspelling of “all correct.” OK first showed up in 1839 in the Boston Morning Post in a satirical article about a group called the “Anti Bell-Ringing Society.” At the time, there was a strange literary fashion to abbreviate misspellings of common sayings, such as “K.G.” as “know go” for “no go” or “O.W.” as “oll wright” for “all right.” However, the year after the article was published, OK got a boost by the presidential election of Martin Van Buren. His nickname was “Old Kinderhook,” and his supporters formed “OK Clubs.” Soon after the letters also proved a short, handy way to confirm reception of telegraph messages, and OK/okay is now one of English’s most common expressions, usable as a noun, verb, or adjective.