NSFW

NSFW

Part of a series on Internet Slang. [View Related Entries]

Updated Sep 24, 2013 at 11:11PM EDT by Brad.

Added Jun 17, 2012 at 10:03AM EDT by gi97ol.

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Warning: This page contains material that may be considered not safe for work.

About

NSFW an abbreviation of the phrase “not safe for work,” is an Internet slang term used to flag media containing pornography, profanity, violence or any other material that may be deemed inappropriate for public viewing.

Origin

According to Urban Dictionary[1] user birdman, sometime in 1998 a woman posted on the Snopes Forums proclaiming that users should censor themselves on the site because “British school children” may be browsing the board. In response, forum members began using the abbreviation NBSFK in place of expletives. The earliest known use of the phrase “not safe for work” comes from a headline for a survey posted on the social news site Fark on August 22nd, 2000. The post linked to the site Stile Project, which often posted pornography and gore.

“Vote for Fark in the StileProject Top 100. Not safe for work. Not safe period.”

Spread

According to a thread posted on the fact-checking website Snopes[3], the abbreviation “NSFW” began appearing on USENET in late 2001 and early 2002. An Urban Dictionary[8] entry for “nsfw” was created by user JoncBEE on February 6th, 2003, defining the term as an acronym for “Not Suitable For Work.” On September 21st, 2004, VG Cats[9] published a web comic titled “NSFW,” which featured an intercourse scene between Mario and Toad from the video game Super Mario Brothers (shown below).



On May 7th, 2005, the website NSFW.us[10] was created, which provided an application for visitors to create a custom URL that would display a warning page for sites that contained adult content. On May 8th, 2007, the site NSFW-Comix[11]was created, which featured adult-oriented web comics and animations. On February 24th, 2008, Gawker[12]published an article titled “What Does NSFW Mean Anyway?”, lamenting the fact that many people are unable to view certain content due to the visibility of their screen at work. On February 26th, 2009, the Internet news blog Urlesque[13] published an article titled “NSFW, Unless – The Web’s Wittiest Disclaimers" with several notable examples of NSFW disclaimers in post titles. On October 31st, 2010, the Sun Times[7] published an article by writer Roger Ebert titled “To NSFW or not to NSFW?”, which outlined how complicated it can be determining what should and not be considered NSFW. On June 9th, 2011, YouTuber beatledude64 uploaded a YouTube poop video titled “Friendship is Not Safe for Work,” featuring footage from the animated television show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic with dubbed audio taken from the Tourette’s Guy videos (shown below).



Fark Trademark Application

On November 28th, 2007, Fark founder Drew Curtis filed an application to trademark NSFW with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.[4] On December 9th, the tech news blog Gizmodo published a post titled “Fark Attempts to Trademark NSFW,” which mocked Curtis’ for attempting to receive online rights for an abbreviation. On December 10th, Wired published an article by writer Jenna Wortham titled “Fark ‘NSFW’ Trademark Bid All in Good Snark?”, which quoted Seton Hall University School of Law professor Frank Pasquale speculating that it would be “almost impossible” to trademark the term. On April 13th, 2009, the application was marked “abandoned” due to lack of a response from the applicant.

Notable Derivatives

  • NSFA: Not Safe For Anyone
  • NSFS: Not Safe For School
  • NSFK: Not Safe For Kids
  • NSFP: Not Safe For Parents
  • NSFGF: Not Safe For Girlfriend
  • NSFBF: Not Safe For Boyfriend
  • NSFF: Not Safe For Facebook
  • NSFH: Not Safe For Humanity
  • NSFB: Not Safe For Breakfast
  • NSFL: Not Safe For Lunch
  • NSFHE: Not Safe For Human Eyes
  • NSFTEO: Not Safe For The Easily Offended
  • NSFF: Not Safe For Fashion
  • NSFW: Not Safe For Wallet
  • NSF56K: Not Safe For 56K Modem

Not Safe For Life (NSFL)

The term NSFL, an abbreviation of the phrase “not safe for life,” was coined to label material that is perceived as too disturbing or extreme for a NSFW disclaimer. On January 27th, 2008, Urban Dictionary[14] user Kelby Raper submitted an entry for “NSFL,” defining the abbreviation as a way to flag links to shock sites like 2 Girls 1 Cup. On August 25th, 2011, Redditor goldncarno submitted a photograph of the planet Venus to the /r/pics[15] subreddit in a post titled “NSFL” in humorous reference to the fact that the planet is uninhabitable. Prior to being archived, the post received over 7,000 up votes and 280 comments.

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