We think we’re all cool with our texting abbreviations – like we made it all up or something. Well, let me just tell ya, it’s KY; that’s know yuse to you – or, you know, no use.
Comical abbreviations were a fad that began in Boston, 1838, and moved to New York and New Orleans the following year. Some of the abbreviations were straight forward: GT (gone to Texas) or SP (small potatoes). Others took the lead of humorists of the day, using exaggerated misspellings: OW (oll wright) or KG (know go).
While most of these abbreviations barely survived a generation, there is one infamous exception. OK was first printed in Boston’s Morning Post March 23, 1839. Sure, we may have forgotten what the abbreviation stands for (oll korrect), but we understand the meaning all the same.
So you see quirky abbreviations are nothing new; it’s their usage that has changed. I guess you could say the main difference between the two is that our texting abbreviations are an offshoot of laziness; the abbreviations of yesterday – an offshoot of wit.
And with that, NS (nuff said).
Note: There are many stories concerning the origins of “OK” – most can be refuted. The information, above, was included in a series of articles by Columbia University professor, Allen Walker Read, published in the American Speech journal in 1963 and 1964. Professor Read’s research seems to have passed the test of time.