The Ring or ‘OK’ Gesture

This gesture was popularised in the USA during the early nineteenth century, apparent¬ly by the newspapers that, at the time, were starting a craze of using initials to shorten common phrases. There’ are many different views about what the initials ‘OK’ stand for, some believing it stood for ‘all correct’ which may have been misspelled as ‘oll korrect’, while others say that it means the opposite of ‘knock-out’ that is, K.O. Another popular theory is that it is an abbreviation of ‘Old Kinderhook’, from the birthplace of a nine¬teenth century American president who used the initials as a campaign slogan. Which theory is the correct one we may never know, but it seems that the ring itself represents the letter ‘O’ in the ‘OK’ signal. The-,’OK’ mean¬ing is common to all English-speaking coun¬tries and, although its meaning is fast spread¬ing across Europe and Asia, it has other origins and meanings in certain places. For example, in France it also means ‘zero’ or ‘nothing’; in Japan it can mean ‘money’; in some Mediterranean countries it is an orifice signal, often used to infer that a man is homosexual.
For overseas travellers, the safest rule to obey is, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’. This can help avoid any possible embar¬rassing circumstances.


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