Discuss word origins and meanings.
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:04 am

<2014 “It's not new knowledge that matters of race permeate the depths of our history and infiltrate the most innocent of experiences, even the simple pleasure of ice cream (who can forget Eddie Murphy's famous, NSFW routine about the poor black experience with ice cream trucks?).”— NPR.org, 5 May>
With 23,000,000 NSFW Google hits (at my space-time coordinates), I consider myself one of the select few who doesn’t know what this abbreviation stands for. For other members of this exclusive club I provide the following:


NSFW [[Online jargon /net lingo / net slang: Internet abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms, text shorthand, etc.)]]: Not safe (or suitable) for work (used in electronic communication to indicate that a particular web page or website contains explicit sexual material or other adult content). [[Usually seen in the subject line of an e-mail message. As opposed to SFW, Safe For Work).]] <I never know whether to consider pictures like these nudity or not so I'll just throw in a ‘nsfw’ and let you decide for yourself.>


NSFW: Abbreviation for Not Safe at A Work

1) Film: Not Safe for Work (2014 film)[/i].

2) Album: By Ninja Sex Party, musical comedy duo (2009-present), NSFW (2011 album).[/i]

3) Quarterly magazine: 2010-present

4) TV show: 2009-2014

Not suitable/safe for work (NSFW) is Internet slang or shorthand. Typically, the NSFW tag is used in e-mail, videos, and on interactive discussion areas (such as Internet forums, blogs, or community websites) to mark URLs or hyperlinks which contain material such as nudity, violence, pornography or profanity, which the viewer may not want to be seen accessing in a public or formal setting such as at work. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

NSFW has particular relevance for individuals making personal use of the Internet at workplaces or schools which have policies prohibiting (even inadvertent) access to sexually provocative content. Companies and schools frequently adopt such policies because they regard the presence of sexual content as a misuse of company property (or education resources) and, potentially, a violation of sexual harassment policy.

On November 28, 2007, Fark.com founder Drew Curtis filed an application to trademark the phrase, but registration was denied.

As for the etymology of NSFW, pickings are thin, so I was forced to resort to discussions and quotes from such stellar sources as the Urban Dictionary and Snopes Message Boards. So, proceed with caution! In fact, I'd say the most appropriate action would be to relegate this baby, posthaste, to the ‘origin uncertain’ bin.

According to some of these dubious sources, NSFW was born circa 1998. However, the oldest example these sources offered, or that I could find, was from 2003. Note: See the 2011 quote below for a theory of the origin of the closely related abbreviation NFBSK.

The following is a list of some of the earlier quotes:
<2003 “Acronym: Not Suitable For Work. Used when posting a link to a site of dubious merit which could cause embarrassment/P45 if linked to while using the Internet at work.” ).”—Urban Dictionary, 6 February> [[P45: British slang as a metonym for termination of employment.]]

<2003 “Perhaps folks were confused by this initiative. Or this one. Playboy also offers a {not safe for work} military discount for cyberporn.”—http://msgboard.snopes.com, 25 April>

<2003 “Origin 1998: Not Safe For Work. Used to describe Internet content generally inappropriate for the typical workplace, i.e., would not be acceptable in the presence of your boss and colleagues (as opposed to SFW, Safe For Work).”—Urban Dictionary, 12 September>

<2011: “2004: Origin circa 1998: At the Snopes.com message board, an obviously irate woman posted saying the other posters should watch their language because there were British school children reading the message board. From then on, as a joke, the other snopesters started using NFBSK [[Not For British School Kids]] in place of swear words or in the subject lines of topics that might not be suitable for children (or the squeamish.)”—UrbanDictionary.com [[Note: This statement is followed by the comment, “That's not the right story, though. No one irate ever posted.” [[Yours truly also found no such irate posting at Snopes.]]

A site which has quite a bit of information on this topic, some of which looks like it might actually be true, is:



Origin: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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, the abbreviation “NSFW” began appearing on USENET in late 2001 and early 2002. An Urban Dictionary entry for “nsfw” was created by user JoncBEE on February 6th, 2003 [[see 1st 2003 quote above), defining the term as an acronym for “Not Suitable For Work.” On September 21st, 2004, VG Cats published a web comic titled “NSFW,” which featured an intercourse scene between Mario and Toad from the video game Super Mario Brothers (shown below). [[I wasn’t able to get into USENET of early 2000s to check the “2001 and early 2002” assertion.]] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

For some message board discussion which illustrates how uncertain the early history of NSFW and NFBSK are, see here.

The following are some additional quotes from archived sources:
<2006 “The buzz stems from the part of the game that clearly falls into the NSFW (not safe for work) category--a scene in which Joey performs oral sex on his wife.”—Variety, 13 February>

<2008 “Watch the whole thing to see how they rename the Oxygen Network. (Warning: Language NSFW.)”—The New York Observer (New York City), 20 November>

<2009 “This historical roundup of clips of the band berating, insulting, pontificating to and just generally seeming disappointed in various audiences is riveting, long and very, very NSFW.”—Washington Post (D.C.), 8 December>

<2011 “The O awards will hand out trophies — some before the event, some during, some later — in categories such as innovative music video, NSFW music video, best independent music blog and must-follow artist on Twitter.”—Chicago Sun-Times (Illinois), 5 April>

<2013 “2013's Most NSFW Videos and Album Covers: Think twice before checking out this list on company time.”—Rolling Stone, 19 December>

<2014 “He's dubbed ‘The Outlaw,’ and it fits: Busch rants and raves and froths and foams in NSFW language over the radio.”—AP Online, 19 May> [[Busch is an American stock car racing driver.]]

Of course, the list of online jargon: Internet abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms, text shorthand, net slang, etc. is huge. For a fairly massive list see NetLingo.

Ken G – May 31, 2014 (DNFMM – Definitely Not For Miss Manners)
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Post by Bobinwales » Sun Jun 01, 2014 3:27 pm

48,000,000 Google hits here. And I've never heard of it either. I must lead a strange life!
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

End of topic.
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