Teenagers have adopted new slang that finds its roots in a play-on-words of the past as much as it is a recent pop culture reference.

“Fax, no printer” is another way of saying “Truth.”

“When someone says ‘fax,’ they are essentially saying, ‘I agree with what you just said, and it’s so true that I would transmit it via fax without needing to print it out,’” according to a glossary published by Later.com.

The saying is less about bygone technology of the 2000s and more about the play-on-word.

“Many kids have no understanding of what a fax machine is,” Benjamin Burroughs, an associate professor of emerging media at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told Today.com. “The word ‘fax’ sounds like ‘facts’ so if you want to affirm what someone says, you’d say, ‘Facts.’ It’s very similar to ‘No cap’ which means, ‘No lie.’”


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The play-on-word was already in use in the 19th century.

“The use of ‘fax’ as a fun phonetic play on ‘facts’ dates back to at least 1837, as documented by the Oxford English Dictionary,” Kelly Elizabeth Wright, a postdoctoral research fellow in language sciences at Virginia Tech, told the news outlet. “It seems that ‘fax, no printer’ is just the latest development in metaphorical, figurative, and playful usage of this sound-symbol coincidence.”

The saying was used in the 2014 song “Post To Be” by Omarion, Chris Brown and Jhene Aiko with the lyrics, “And that’s fax, no printer.” The track peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was in the charts for 37 consecutive weeks after it was released in 2015.

“In more contemporary interpretations, ‘fax’ for ‘facts’ is variously attributed to youth language, Black vernaculars, and New York varieties of English,” Wright added.