Not Safe for Work

A common internet warning, usually denoting a picture or video that you wouldn't want to show up when you are surfing the web at work. It's one thing to just look up the latest news or check your email. It's another to be looking at porn. Anything with nudity in it at all will often get labeled thus, on the off chance that a passing observer simply thinks you might be looking at porn.

So called because if you are caught reading a page that is Not Safe For Work at work, you can get fired. For the more graphic NSFW pages, even having them in the hard drive or cache of a work computer can get you fired. Even showing up in the server log files could be unhealthy.

Also applies to school, of course. Usually even being caught simply going to sites like YouTube, Facebook, or Dailybooth can get you in pretty big trouble there; being caught looking at anything "pornographic" will guarantee a trip to the vice principal's office, plus several detentions, or a suspension, or something similar.

Also particularly helpful to parents who are at home - believe it or not, some people on the Internet do have small children and still find time to netsurf. These same people like to have a warning to wait until the children are in another room before clicking a link.

NSFW can be applied to vulgar or violent, as well as pornographic, content. Also applied as a near-synonym for Squick. It may also be applied if the link requires sound, as not a lot of people have headphones at work (or should be wearing headphones, depending on the job).

Just in case you are still not clear on what this means, go to this page when you have privacy. Then ask yourself, do you really want your boss in the room when you're looking at that stuff?

Incidentally, get back to work before your boss notices you slacking off by browsing this site!

See also, No Lewdness, No Prudishness for how this site handles the issue.

This phrase can take many forms:

  • NWS: Not Work Safe.
  • NBS: Not Brain Safe.
  • NSS: Not Sanity Safe.
  • NSFS: Not Safe For the Soul/Sanity.
    • Either of these can be said of something that's technically work-safe but completely insane.
    • Alternately, Not Safe For School.
  • NSFH: Not Safe For Humanity.
  • NSFWSOAYCGIT: Not Safe for Work, School, or Anywhere You Can Get in Trouble.
  • NSFP: Not Safe For Parents.
  • NSFK/NSFM: Not Safe for Kids, or Not Safe for Minors.
  • NSFBS/NFBSK: Not Safe For British Schoolchildren/Not For British School Kids.
    • uses this phrase to denote its sex-related entries.
  • Bikini or speedo pics are often flagged as "Mildly NSFW", since they aren't outright porn, but it would still look like you are slacking off if the boss sees them.
  • NFYOSS: Not Fourteen-Year-Old Sister Safe — for anything you wouldn't want the hypothetical sister to see. Mostly used on the User Friendly Message Board, but sometimes seen elsewhere.
  • NSFW: Not Safe For Wife, as many married men know.
    • The Lancashire Hotpots song "Esc, Alt+F4" references this.
  • NSFA: Not Safe For Anyone/Anywhere/Anything.
  • NSFL: Not Safe For Life/Lunch.
  • NSF56K: Not Safe For 56K, though this is a different matter regarding content that will take forever on a slow connection.
    • 56K Warning and similar messages mean the same thing.
      • Is the page (or website) known for containing a lot of images? Assume it's a 56K Warning.
  • NSFRW: Not Safe For Republican Work (or just the far right ones, moderate ones likely wouldn't care).
  • NSFW: Now Show Friends and Workmates.
    • NSFW: Now Show Family and Workmates.
  • "Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)."
  • Does your URL include "chan" or "booru"? There's material somewhere on those servers that qualifies, guaranteednote .
  • Not quite on topic, but George MacDonald Fraser's novel The Pyrates mentions a three-tier rating system upper class British girls had for upper class British boys (apparently referring to danger to one's virginity) that included, in ascending order of peril, Not Safe At Vauxhall, Not Safe In Sedan Chairs and Not Safe Anywhere.
    • There is still a tiered rating system in this era.
  • Author Susie Bright suggests NSFP: Not Safe for Prudes.
  • SFW: Safe For Work. Generally used to inform the web user who may be wary about clicking on a link that it is safe.
    • The website "How F***ed is the T?", which uses live data to determine average subway wait time, has a "SFW version" called "How's the T?", where descriptions such as "The Red Line isn't very f***ed" are changed to "The Red Line looks just fine".
  • NSFG: Not Safe For Google.
  • sNSFW: So not safe for work.
  • This trope dates back to at least 1594. The English translation of Examen de Ingenios, The Examination of mens Wits, a book on physiology and psychology, has a warning opposite a section on procreation that "This is no chapter for maids to read in sight of others."
  • TSFW: Technically Safe For Work. Similar to "Mildly NSFW" in that while no naughty bits are visible, the image is clearly erotic.
  • Not Safe For Wallet
  • Not Safe For Woona
  • Trigger Warning: For content that may or may not be sexual in nature, but can be disturbing to certain people, and can potentially set off Flashbacks or relapses.

NSFW In Fiction

  • Filth, in general
  • Farm Sluts
  • This trope gets a name-drop in Grand Theft Auto V during the mission "Friend Request", where Michael has to do a pop-up clicking minigame for Rickie Luckens because he got a virus after clicking a "totally NSFW link".

Alternative Title(s): NSFW, Safe For Work, Work Safe