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K is an abbreviation for “okay," an English expression commonly used as an interjection to denote consent, endorsement or acknowledgement. In online conversations and short message communications, the letter “K” can be more specifically interpreted as an indifferent acknowledgement.
While the origin of the letter “K” as a shorthand for “okay” remains unclear, the term most likely entered widespread usage during the onset of online multiplayer games and mobile texting in the early 2000s. On February 27th, 2003, Urban Dictionary user Brian Black submitted an entry for the abbreviation, defining it as a “term of acknowledgement.”
In 2004, Rice University associate professor Suzanne Kemmer posted a list of Internet slang terms on her Words in English website, which included “k” as an abbreviation of “okay.” On March 9th, “k” was listed in a collection of “text messaging and online chat abbreviations” on the online reference site Webopedia. On July 31st, 2006, K was added to the “List of Chat Acronyms & Text Shorthand” on the Internet slang database NetLingo. On April 6th, 2007, About.com published an article about online slang term “kk,” defining it as an abbreviation of the phrase “okay, cool.” On February 7th, 2010, a Facebook page titled "i hate short answers!!!! “k” “ok” “lol” etc" was launched. On August 30th, 2012, a question was submitted to Yahoo Answers asking “what does k mean in texting?”, to which user Kerryn replied that it meant “okay.” On November 5th, 2013, Redditor jesuspunk submitted a GIF of the character Ari Gold from the television series Entourage throwing his phone against the wall titled “MRW my crush replies to my text with ‘k’” to the /r/reactiongifs subreddit (shown below). Prior to being archived, the post gathered over 800 upvotes and 20 comments.
On December 11th, the /r/K_Gifs subreddit was launched for reaction GIFs captioned with the abbreviation (shown below). In the first six months, the subreddit accumulated more than 1,900 subscribers.
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