What does TW mean on social media and in forums?

Trigger warning

TW, or "trigger warning," is a notice that the content you are about to read, listen to, or watch discusses a potentially upsetting topic. For example, an essay discussing depression and suicidal thoughts may be prefaced by "TW: Suicide." This is a warning that you should not read the essay if you do not want to read about suicide.

Typically, TWs are written as "TW: Topic" or "TW // Topic." This makes the warnings easily identifiable. TWs are most often used to label content that may cause someone to recall past trauma. CWs, or "content warnings," on the other hand, are used to label content that some people may find objectionable, but is not necessarily traumatic.

Some discussion topics that may be prefaced by TWs include:

  • Suicide and self-harm
  • Eating and drinking disorders
  • Physical and mental abuse
  • Descriptions of violence
  • Hate speech and abusive language


TW: Emotional abuse
A TW warning of eating disorder-related content
A TW warning of eating disorder-related content

Related Slang


Updated September 15, 2021

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

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