Happy Birthday to Martin Van Buren. Born in Kinderhook, N.Y., Van Buren’s nickname was “Old Kinderhook.” That was shortened to “OK” in rallies for his 1840 reelection campaign. Somehow, that abbreviation evolved into the ubiquitous idiom. You can literally say that Van Buren was OK. He was just an OK president too. He didn't win his re-election campaign.