What Does “NSFW” Mean On Reddit? A Quick Definition…

By Richard Goodwin •  Updated: 07/17/21 •  4 min read

NSFW means “Not Safe For Work” and it is usually attached to posts and content that you wouldn’t want to look at with an audience…


If you spend even the smallest amount of time on the web, you’ll have come across the following phrase – reddit nsfw – and you’re probably wondering what the hell it means, right?

Like XOXO and other Reddit slang, NSFW is essentially an acronym: it means “not suitable for work” or, occasionally, “not safe for work” – either way, you get the idea.

NSFW content is the type of content you don’t want to be caught looking at while at work.

NSFW Reddit

What Does “NSFW” Mean On Reddit
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Content flagged as NSFW, either on Reddit or elsewhere, is usually adult-themed; it might feature some nudity or other adult content. What classes as adult content? Basically, anything you wouldn’t want a child, your mom, or your boss seeing you looking at.

Usually, though, NSFW content is adult-themed stuff. In the context of Reddit, NSFW could be used on a post that features nudity, partial nudity, as in the case of a progress picture on a fitness subreddit, or it could be a video that features violence.

The Four Main Types of NSFW Content on Reddit

Reddit Policy on NSFW Content

Content that contains nudity, pornography, or profanity, which a reasonable viewer may not want to be seen accessing in a public or formal setting such as in a workplace should be tagged as NSFW. This tag can be applied to individual pieces of content or to entire communities.

REDDIT

Why Do We Need NSFW on Reddit?

The idea behind the NSFW tag on Reddit is pretty simple: it is there to stop you from being embarrassed.

If you’re at work, or with a family member, and you see the NSFW tag you will immediately know NOT to open that particular thread.

Similarly, if you use Reddit at work, the NSFW tag will save you the embarrassment of opening something on your computer that might be seen by your boss and/or work colleagues.

In this respect, NSFW is a warning: it tells you that what you’re about to click on is something that you might want to do in private, away from your work colleagues, family members, or parents.

Types of NSFW Content on Reddit

What Does “NSFW” Mean On Reddit? A Quick Definition…
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Who Invented NSFW Tag?

Legend has it the NSFW tag first appeared back in the day inside the Snopes forum. According to the story, a mother, while viewing the site with her child, clicked on something that definitely wasn’t suitable for children.

Angered, she made a post that said Snopes should start using a tagging system that lets users know if a post is suitable for British school children (SFBSC).

Obviously, SFBSC is a bit niche (and has too much emphasis on British kids), so, after a bit of back and fourth, the tag NSFW was born. And that, in as fewer words as possible, is the spark notes version of how the term NSFW came to be.

Not sure what Reddit is for? Check out our super-detailed Guide To Reddit for more information on how the platform works and how to start using it.

What Does “NSFW” Mean On Reddit
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Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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