What Does Facsimile Mean?

You might not know about a facsimile machine. But I am sure that you might have heard about the fax machine. In fact, it is one of the most common and staple machines that you have seen in a lot of offices. However, the word also has other definitions. In case you come across this word and don’t know what it means, take a look at this article below for the facsimile definition, the origin of the word as well as its synonyms and antonyms.


1. Definitions Of FACSIMILE

​Facsimile is a noun, which is pronounced as fak-ˈsi-mə-lē. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is among the bottom 50 % of words in term of popularity. That can help to explain why this word sound unfamiliar with even advanced English learners.

​This word has three definitions.

  • 1. Facsimile = A copy of something. It could mean a copy with zero or little % in difference. It also suggests a copy which might be different in scale with the original.

​• E.g.: A facsimile of this protocol is used for educational purposes.

E.g.: This girl is the facsimile of her mother. I can’t tell them apart.

• A phrase which can be used to express a copy which doesn’t resemble 100 % to the original but is still quite close is reasonable facsimile. >> E.g.: The model is the reasonable facsimile of the real model / I can speak a little bit of Spanish, or as you can say, a quite reasonable facsimile of such language.

  • 2. Facsimile = A system which copies, transmits and then reproduces anything which is displayed on a piece of paper. It could be data or still pictures. The system uses the telephone lines to help transmit the data.

• A facsimile machine is one of the staple machines an ordinary office. It is also known as the fax machine.

  • 3. Facsimile = A copy which is reproduced from the fax machine.

2. Other Forms Of FACSIMILE

As you can see, the word “facsimile” is a noun. It can also be used in front of a noun to act as an adjective. The adjective form of “facsimile” means:

  • “copied using the facsimile machine”. This adjective describes an image or a copy. E.g.: Here is your facsimile email.
  • “used to make a facsimile”. This adjective describes a method or a machine. E.g. This email was sent to you by the facsimile transmission

The verb form of this word is also “facsimile”. Its part form is “facsimiled” and its gerund form is “facsimileing”. This verb means “to make a copy”.

• E.g.: Could you facsimile this email for me?

3. The Origin Of FACSIMLE

While the Facsimile machine refers to an innovative and advanced machine which is developed in the late 19th century, the word “Facsimile” dated back to a much older time. “Fac simile” is a Latin phrase. It means “make similar”.

English speakers then adapted the word and use it as a noun to refer to something which is similar to other things in around the late 1600s. During that period of time, a facsimile means a handwritten copy. It could also mean an exact copy of paintings or statues.

As I mentioned above, the facsimile machine was developed in the 1800s. The firs machine of this kind can help to reproduce materials via telegraph or wire transfer. Now, we use more advanced technologies such as telephone line or wireless technologies.

4. Synonyms and Antonyms Of Facsimile

​For the first definition of “Facsimile”, there are several synonyms: carbon, carbon print, duplicate, alter ego, doppelganger, replica, copy, reproduction and look-alike.

The antonyms of Facsimile are original, prototype, and archetype.

How to use the synonyms of “facsimile” correctly:

As you can see, while the word “facsimile” has a lot of synonyms, there are some light differences among these words. You should know about them in order to use these words more precisely. Here is the comparison among the most common synonyms:

  • Reproduction: The exact or almost exact copy of the original thing.
  • Duplicate: Another item which is made correspondingly to the other, for example, a duplicate of a house key.
  • Copy: An item or series of items which is made exactly like the original. You can use this word when you want to stress that the copy-cat items are made mechanically. For example: - 500 copies of this book.
  • Facsimile: A thing which is the exact or almost exact copy. It also refers to an item which looks like the original item, but in different scales.
  • Replica: An item which is the exact copy. You use this word when you want to strongly express that the copy version looks exactly like the original with all of the smallest details.

​Here are some of the most important things that you need to know about the word “facsimile”. This word can be used as the noun, verb and adjective. It has 3 definitions: the exact copy, the reproducing and transmitting system (also known as fax) and the copied version made with this system.

I hope that you also find the information on the origin of the word along with its synonyms and antonyms interesting and helpful. With all of the details, now you can understand the word and use it in the right context.