What does CW stand for?

Content warning

CW, or “content warning,” is a heads up that the content you’re about to engage with might have stuff in it that you’d rather not see, hear, or read. This could be anything from violent scenes in a video to offensive language in a song. So, if you see something like “CW: Violence” before a video, it’s telling you that the video has some violent stuff in it. If seeing violent stuff bothers you, you’d probably want to skip that video.

You’ll usually find CWs written as “CW: Topic” or “CW // Topic”, which makes it easy for you to spot them. Now, you might be thinking, “Isn’t that just like a trigger warning?” Well, not exactly. While they’re sort of similar, the main difference is that trigger warnings (or TWs) are used mainly to label content that could make someone remember a traumatic experience. On the other hand, CWs can be used to label any kind of content that might be upsetting or offensive.

What kind of content might have a content warning, you ask? Well, it could be anything really. But some common examples include videos with graphic violence, blog posts that talk about mental health struggles, or songs with explicit language. So, if you see a CW, it’s a good idea to take a second to decide if you’re okay with seeing or hearing what’s behind it.

Example for using ‘CW’ in a conversation

Hey, did you see that new movie?

Yeah, I did. CW: Violence, though. Just a heads up.

Thanks for letting me know! I’ll skip it then. Any other recommendations?

Sure! How about this comedy series? It’s really funny and doesn’t have any CWs.