NSFW


not safe for work; not suitable for work: used in an email or other electronic communication as a warning that it contains or links to pornographic, offensive, or other content unsuitable for viewing at work or in public places.

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Origin of NSFW

First recorded in 2000–05

Words nearby NSFW

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

ABOUT THIS WORD

What does NSFW mean?

NSFW is an abbreviation of the phrase not safe for work or not suitable for work. It describes explicit digital content you wouldn’t want to be caught watching in professional or public places.

NSFW content (in the form of articles, videos, images, etc.) may involve sexual, profane, offensive, violent, or otherwise graphic material—material that can seem all too available on the internet, sometimes.

How is NSFW pronounced?

[ en es ef duhbuhl-yoo] or [ not seyf fer wurk ]

What are some variants of NSFW?

nsfw

What are some other words related to NSFW?

NSFL
SFW

Where does NSFW come from?

NSFW is first recorded in a 2002 Usenet post explaining how people use the abbreviation to warn employees of adult content, especially as viewed online, in the workplace.

In the 2000s, NSFW expanded as an alert for mature or graphic content not just at work, but in any public or formal space—so much so that by the 2010s, NSFW was already being used as a shorthand for various off-color, risqué remarks and behavior offline, too.

How is NSFW used in real life?

Online, NSFW may appear in headlines, links, hashtags, and introductions to articles to warn readers of mature or sensitive content ahead, often of a sexual or violent nature. The content doesn’t have to be viewed only at a workplace for it to be flagged as inappropriate.

NSFW has been adopted into colloquial speech and writing, too, as a shorthand way to refer to adult content more generally (e.g., a NSFW standup routine). As our previous example shows, NSFW is often used as a modifier: like a NSFW blog or NSFW fan art.

A take on NSFW is the more extreme NSFL, Not Safe for Life—describing incredibly offensive or disturbing content.

SFW, or Safe for Work, is used for content that may appear to be questionable but is perfectly clean.

NSFW may also be used alongside the abbreviations CW (content warning) or TW (trigger warning).

The abbreviation NSFW is sometimes referred to as an internet acronym or initialism.

More examples of NSFW:

“Rihanna has dropped the action-packed and very NSFW video for her single …. In it, she takes the song’s lyrics literally as she attempts—and later succeeds—in getting her money through torture and extreme violence.”

—Brittany Spanos, Rolling Stone, July 2015

Example sentences from the Web for NSFW