trigger warning



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trigger warning (plural trigger warnings)

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  1. A notice placed before the beginning of media content (usually an online article, e-mail, or post) to warn of potential traumatic triggers it contains.
    Synonym: (see usage notes) content warning
    • 2013, Aalya Ahmad, “When the Women Think: Teaching Horror in Women's and Gender Studies”, in Aalya Ahmad; Sean Moreland, editors, Fear and Learning: Essays on the Pedagogy of Horror, McFarland & Company, →ISBN, page 69:
      One film presentation group for Teeth, which features rape scenes, also chose to include “trigger warnings” and bring in a representative from a sexual assault centre as a resource for the class.
    • 2013, Caitlin Still, “The trouble with trigger warnings”[1], Honi Soit, University of Sydney, week 2, semester 2, page 14:
      I applaud the sensitivity and awareness demonstrated by those who take the time to put a trigger warning, for example, on a link posted on Facebook dealing with issues such as sexual abuse or violence.
    • 2014, Lisa Nakamura, “Gender and Race Online”, in Mark Graham; William H. Dutton, editors, Society and the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication Are Changing Our Lives, Oxford: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 87:
      In its policies about posting, it asks users to include “trigger warnings” about content that “involves sexual assault or violence towards women and other marginalized groups, which may distress or cause readers to be triggered.”

Usage notesEdit

While many sources use the terms trigger warning and content warning interchangeably, some sources draw a distinction between them. These sources use content warning to refer to signposting of more general concerns (such as nudity) as opposed to potential triggers (such as sexual assault).