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Not Safe for Work

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A common internet warning, abbreviated as NSFW, usually denoting a picture or video that you wouldn't want to show up when you are surfing the web at work or else you could get in a LOT of trouble. It's one thing to look up the latest news, check your email or play Solitaire. It's another to be looking at porn. Anything with nudity or partial nudity in it at all will often be labelled thus, on the off chance that a passing observer simply thinks you might be looking at porn. For the more graphic NSFW pages, simply 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.

NSFW is also frequently applied to overly vulgar, violent, and crude content. Also applied as a near-synonym for Squick. It may also be applied if the link requires sound, as not everyone has headphones at work (or should be wearing headphones, depending on the job).

While the term specifies work, it also applies to school. Usually, even being caught visiting casual sites like YouTube, Facebook, or Dailybooth can get you in pretty big trouble there; being caught looking at anything deemed "pornographic" can result in suspension of technology access, a trip to the (vice) principal's office, detention, suspension, or even expulsion. When it comes to school, anything crude or distracting from the educational experience (though the latter may be relaxed during breaks and lunch) qualifies for this trope, in addition to the above.

Also particularly helpful to parents who are at home - some people 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. Basically, any content that runs the risk of being labeled "inappropriate" if someone else were to catch you checking out outside of the privacy of your own bedroom can be marked as "NSFW".

    Other popular phrases for the same concept 
  • NWS: Not Work Safe.
  • sNSFW: So not safe for work.
  • NSFG: Not Safe For Google.
  • NSFA: Not Safe For Anyone/Anywhere/Anything.
  • NBS: Not Brain Safe. Alternatively, NSFB (Not Safe for Brain). Either could also refer to something that makes no sense.
  • NSFL: Not Safe For Life - indicates content that is, to one extent or another, nauseating or traumatizing. Recommended for: Shock Sites and the bad kind of medical documentation. More popular than NSFA. Alternatively, Not Safe for Lunch (with the idea that such gross content will make you throw up or lose your appetite).
  • 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: 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.
  • 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.
  • Not Safe For Wife.
  • NSFRW: Not Safe For Republican Work (or just the far right ones, moderate ones likely wouldn't care).
  • TSFW: Technically Safe For Work. Similar to "Mildly NSFW" in that while no naughty bits are visible, the image is clearly erotic.
  • NSFE: Not Safe For Ears. Also known as NSFH (Not Safe For Hearing). Look for this in comments under videos if you suspect them to be Screamer Pranks.
  • 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.
  • Author Susie Bright suggests NSFP: Not Safe for Prudes.

It does NOT stand for "Now Show to Friends and co-Workers," no matter what the local troll may say.

See No Lewdness, No Prudishness for how this site handles the issue. Compare Trigger Warning and "Content Warning". Contrast Perfectly Safe For Work. Not to be confused with places that aren't safe to work in. : 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.

Incidentally, get back to work before your Pointy-Haired Boss notices you slacking off by browsing this site!

This page merely defines the term. It is not a trope and should not be used as such.

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