A friend of mine and I are trying to create a Latin language equivalent of the English acronym "NSFW", meaning "not safe for work". So far we have:

Non tutus ad officina

I don't know if this is proper Latin, but it is supposed to mean "unsafe at the workplace". According to some dictionaries I've researched, the Latin word tutus.a.um means "safe, prudent" in the sense of "not risky" or "no danger present". And we have used the word officina as it reminds of office even though it seems to mean "factory" or "workshop".

So our current acronym in Latin would be NTAO, but I don't really know if that is properly declined and/or those are the proper words to use. Do you have any better translation?

  • Bienvenido! Do you prefer a literal translation rather than something more idiomatic?
    – Rafael
    May 25, 2018 at 10:07
  • 4
    @Rafael gracias! Actually I don't mind, but it would be really nice if the translated sentence is something a real Roman would have said two thousand years ago. :-)
    – Charlie
    May 25, 2018 at 10:11
  • My understanding is that NSFW is "Not Suitable For Work". FWIW. :-) May 26, 2018 at 2:58

2 Answers 2


I would translate "not safe" with inconveniens or haud opportunus. I have always found "work" difficult to translate, since it reflects a post-industrial cultural division between "work" and "life" that the Romans would not have understood very well. My best shot would be personalize it: operantes (="those who are working").

This gives us:

Operantibus inconveniens


Operantibus haud opportunum

  • @stendarr I think operantibus is a dative ("for those whose are working"), but the answer should still be worth your upvote.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    May 25, 2018 at 18:11
  • (Greek has no such trouble πένομαι since it seems to conform well with the modern condition for many;) Great answer. Operantibus inconveniens is concise and conveys some resonance of meaning ("not convenient for what you're doing") even to non-Latin readers.
    – DukeZhou
    May 25, 2018 at 18:56
  • Acronym OHO. Not bad!
    – Hugh
    May 26, 2018 at 0:24

One option is to use the adjective turpis, which means many things like "shameful" and "dishonorable". This is perhaps more blunt than the English variant, but at least pretty unambiguous.

As brianpck points out, "work" is not easy to translate. I will use opus, but labor and some verbs (like operari as brianpck chose) work as well.

With these ingredients, I suggest turpe inter opus, "shameful in the midst of work". (I accidentally first wrote apud instead of inter.)

  • I thought of non videndum(a, us) a principale (domino, decurio) but I'm not sure of the connotation. NSFW sounds like something whose context you don't want your boss to understand...
    – Rafael
    May 25, 2018 at 16:23
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    @Rafael It could also mean material people don't want to see in a work environment. I'm pretty sure most bosses would understand the context of porn at work, but that is blatantly in the NSFW category. You can always offer your idea as a separate answer so it's easier to vote and comment on it. There are many ways to say things like this.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    May 25, 2018 at 16:27
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    @Rafael NSFW originally had the context of something you might see in an email subject line from a friend when they are sending you images or videos, which-- if the boss or coworkers sees it--could be misinterpreted or get you fired. Porn is the obvious category, but other non-Porno NSFW items include anything from racist memes, rape memes, non-porn nude images like African tribal dancers or indigenous tribespeople, and even (in a predominantly Christian society) images of torture, witches, dem May 26, 2018 at 9:34
  • ...(continued). The whole point was "Hey buddy, I'm send you this naked image/sex video but it might get you in trouble so don't open it at work: wait until you get home May 26, 2018 at 9:36
  • As a final note, you are right @Rafael in that the boss (and the email servers which flagged words like "porn" and "nude") originally were not supposed to understand the acronym . But, like parents, over time they came to understand the "code" and other code words like "pr0n" will now be understood by most bosses for what it is. Language is a living thing . "NSFW" was developed in 1990s, a time before the world fad Facebook, Smartphones, Instant messaging, YouTube, or Bittorrent. May 26, 2018 at 9:44

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