What does CW mean on social media and in forums?

Content warning

CW, or "content warning," is a notice that the content you are about to read, view, or hear contains potentially offensive or objectionable material. For example, a video that contains a graphic depiction of violence may be prefaced by "CW: Violence." This is a warning that you should not watch the video if graphic violence upsets you.

Typically, CWs are written as "CW: Topic" or "CW // Topic." This makes the warnings easily identifiable. CWs are slightly different that TWs, or "trigger warnings," in that TWs are used primarily to label content that may cause someone to recall past trauma. CWs, on the other hand, can be used to label any sort of potentially objectionable content.

Some content that may be preceded by a content warning includes:

  • Graphic violence
  • Nudity
  • Gore
  • Depictions or discussions of abuse
  • Depictions or discussions of animal cruelty


CW: Physical abuse shown
A CW warning of hidden gore
A CW warning of hidden gore

Related Slang


Updated September 15, 2021

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This page explains what the acronym "CW" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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