What 'No Cap' Means On TikTok

If you're a millennial scrolling through TikTok, there's a chance you've come across some Gen Z lingo that's totally confusing. It's like you need a dictionary to understand all the sheeshes and yeets. You definitely don't want to be that person who has to ask, "What do you mean?" That would be very cheugy of you  — aka outdated, untrendy, trying too hard (via Today). 

A lot of the terms that Gen Z is using on the video-sharing app are rooted in Black and LGBTQ+ communities and culture (via Business Insider). Some of them have actually been around for years, but are just now entering mainstream vocabulary due to their popularity on TikTok. In fact, according to Business Insider, the online platform has allowed the adoption and spread of language to occur much more quickly.

While some words and phrases are easy to deduce through context, you may need some help figuring out others. 

The phrase 'no cap' has actually been around since the '80s

The phrase "no cap" may actually be something that's a little more difficult to understand. You may even see it reduced to a simple blue baseball cap emoji in the comments section of a TikTok video. Well, the word "cap" actually means lie, according to USA Today. So, when someone or something is "no cap," that means it's not a lie. You'll say "no cap" when you're being completely honest with someone. A way to use "no cap" in a sentence is if you were giving a review on a cookie you just ate. You may say, "That cookie was delicious, no cap." 

According to In The Know, "no cap" is one of those terms that has actually been around for years. University of Chicago Linguistics Professor Dr. Sharese King even says that "no cap" comes from "capping," which is a "game of trading insults that weren't actually based in truth." 

Rappers Young Thug and Future helped to popularize the phrase back in 2017 with their single "No Cap," but one of its first lyrical mentions was in Chief Keef's "Just in Case" in 2011, according to Genius. "Capping" has also appeared in rap songs from the 1980s as well, so it really seems like this phrase has been around for decades. It's only thanks to the growing platform of TikTok that it's not just rappers and Gen Z saying "no cap" now, but anyone on social media.