I’ve got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications. I thought I’d share some of this random crap with you in the form of another acronym-ific series. I give you – Word Origins from Left Field – that’s right, the WOLF. Er… ignore the fact that the “from” doesn’t fit.
Despite a general uproar about the degradation of our language, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use text speak – whether typing or verbally. Although I still refuse to LOL or OMG I am very guilty of the b/c, the w/ and the b/f. For example, I can’t do anything w/ you Friday b/c I’ll be w/ the b/f.
But did you know that people were using something eerily resembling text speak as early as the 19th century? It seems that the East Coast was the place to say “SP” if you wanted to indicate that something was small potatoes, or even “TBFTB” to say someone was too big for their britches.
This might seem hard to believe, but take into consideration the oft-used worldwide expression “OK.” That lovely bit of speech originated in Boston in 1839, as a stand-in for saying something was all-correct. So shouldn’t it be “AC?” Maybe, but just like how today’s business like to misspell words for attention (think Kwik-E-Mart), those Bostonians felt like pushing the enveloped a little and saying “OK” instead.
OK may have faded into obscurity, but it got a boost from Martin Van Buren when he ran for re-election in 1840. Van Buren, a native of Kinderhook, NY, was often referred to as “Old Kinderhook.” He adopted the abbreviated version of his nickname to indicate that he was all-correct.