What does ‘no cap’ mean? The phrase is all over TikTok

There’s a new phrase all over TikTok, but what it means may not be so obvious. 

You might have seen people saying “no cap” (sometimes presented as the baseball cap emoji) in comments or captions. Here’s everything you need to know about the fairly recent slang terminology.

What does “no cap” mean?

According to Urban Dictionary, when someone writes “no cap,” it “basically means that they’re not lying or ‘capping’ like they did something.” In other words, people say “no cap” to convey that they’re being totally and completely honest.

An example sentence included is, “That was good, no cap.”

In 2019, Terrell Wade, who often defines hip-hop terms on his YouTube channel, explained, “The word ‘cap’ pretty much just means ‘lie.'”

All Def Comedy also explained the phrase’s meaning in a segment called “Is That What The Kids Say?” The panelist noted that “capping” means “lying.”

Therefore,”no cap” is essentially the equivalent of “no lie.”

Where did “no cap” come from?

In a video tracing the origins of the phrase “no cap,” Genius spoke to Dr. Sharese King, a linguistics professor at the University of Chicago, and she explained that “no cap” can be tracked back to “playing the dozens,” a “game of trading insults that weren’t actually based in truth.” In some areas, this was apparently referred to as “capping.”

“It’s this art form in which you have two people sort of dueling over who basically can roast the other person the best,” she explained.

The term became popular in 2017. Atlanta-based rappers Young Thug and Future are credited with making it trendy with the single “No Cap,” as are hip hop trio Migos with their single “Deadz.”

However, “No Cap” confusingly does not use the term the way Gen Zers and TikTokers do. The song, which is about the rappers’ lavish cars and jewelry, insinuates that there is “no cap” (or no limit) to their affluence. Migos, meanwhile, uses the phrases the way in a more well-known context, repeating the lyrics, “No forreal, no cap.”

“No cap” is definitely trending right now. 

Videos tagged #nocap have amassed over 727 million views (at press time) on TikTok. Most of the TikToks use the term to highlight something that feels unreal — like this video of Dascha Polanco doing Megan Thee Stallion’s “Body” challenge.

If you enjoyed this story, find out what “FYP” stands for on TikTok.

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