Words I Loathe


Blog. Blog. Blaaaaahg. When I see the original, pre-shortened word “weblog”–that’s where “blog” comes from–all I see is “we blog”. It’s an ugly word, and I find any excuse to avoid using it. Although I quite like “blogosphere”. It makes the world of online blogs seem ugly and close-knit. In my head, the blogosphere is the size and color of a tangerine.

It’s somehow important that blogs are on the web, hence the “b”. Interactivity is part of the package, which is why blog posts with no comments seem a little sad, no matter how good (or bad) the content.

There’s nothing wrong with calling something a “log”, although the word does put me in mind of the sort of log that documents when a public toilet was cleaned. It also makes me think of stardates. (“Captain’s blog, post date 10/27/2011. The Romulans continue to employ provocative punctuation. They insist that using two spaces after a period is not, in fact, a violation of the punctuation zone treaty.”)


Or is it “okay”? If it’s the two-letter version, do we need periods? The entire entry on this word in the AP Style guide reads: “Do not use okay.” I wouldn’t go that far. (Just about every style guide I have disagrees with me on this one. However, my opinion, my blaaaaahg post.)

This pair of initials comes from the Greek “olla kalla” stamped on employee attendance rolls (or something like that). Or, wait a sec, maybe they come from “oll korrect”–as the OED insists. But, despite being amazingly popular in spoken English, “OK” and “O.K.” need to die. It’s a word now, a legitimate word with four letters.

“Okay” is all grown up, we can lose the periods. “Okay” is just a word that means “everything is awesomesauce.” Sure, the initials were a shortened form of a pair of words–take your pick which ones–but that pair of pairs is now forgotten.

Neil Fein is a freelance editor. On the side, he’s the guitarist in the band Baroque & Hungry, he rides a mean bicycle, and he paints in oils when the mood strikes him.


6 thoughts on “Words I Loathe

    1. There’s not a lot of agreement between the usual authorities, either:

      • Chicago Manual of Style: Uses “OK or “okay”, indicates that they mildly prefer “OK” but neither is preferred.
      • Yahoo Style Guide: Use “OK”. No spaces or periods. (But don’t take my word for it..)
      • AP: Don’t use it at all. Bad reporter, no biscuit for you.

      Interestingly, The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories (1991, p.329) has two pages on “OK”:

      According to this book, the term became widespread in the late 1830s, in the midst of a fad for initials. There was also a tradition of misspelling words to indicate the dialect of the uneducated, presumably for moar humor, including well-known initialisms. All correct was turned into O.K. through a combination of both trends. Politicians picked up on the term, including the Tammany Democrats and the Whigs.

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