These Are The Words That Could Make The NSA Think You’re A Terrorist

Indrani Sengupta
Some of these words make a good case for themselves. But others? Ridiculous. Good luck finding a terrorist using "quiche" as your search word.

Anti terrorist organizations such as the National Security Agency and UK’s Government Communications Headquarters have begun developing lists of words that (in their opinion) a terrorist would be likely to use., which follows the security industry, claims to have compiled a partial list of these words, and it’s a sight to behold.

Anti terrorist organization

It’s easy to see why some words and phrases may be flagged. “World Domination,” “fax encryption” and “mailbomb” could very well be cause for concern, though context is still key.

National Security Agency

But some of the the trigger words listed are just going to nab a bunch of grandparents that finally mustered up the courage to check out the “eyepad thing” that their children got them for Christmas


Here are a few of our favorite “spook words” that’ll supposedly tickle the NSA’s suspicions:



Were you planning on buying your beau/belle flowers this week? Sorry, you’ve been marked for terror.

Panama city


Cancel that holiday. If you’re already a Panama resident, you might want to start pretending you’re just a Costa Rican who wandered too far and got lost.


Because what’s more dangerous than a terrorist who doesn’t have time for spellcheck?

Recommended: Someone Finally Challenges The Constitutionality Of NSA Surveillance



Real men eat quiche. Terrorists are often men. Ergo, terrorists eat quiche.



Admittedly, those conspiracy theorists that are still harping on about how Elvis is alive and dating their grandma could be a tad unhinged.



The one place where you might have been able to find new words that aren’t liable to get you blacklisted may be the most sinister place of all. Stand clear, citizen.

john jones


We can’t even…


But before becoming too concerned, get this: a Slovenian artist has created a typeface that automatically flags words deemed terrorist triggers by international law-enforcement agencies. Granted, Project Seen is now nearing 40,000 words, which means you’ll never be able to write a labor-free sentence again. That’s why Project Seen is less of a buffer against excessive government surveillance, and more of an art piece that highlights “the fraught state of security in modern times.”


“It is more a conversation 'trigger,' where people start asking 'OK why is the word on the list? Why is this one not?"

So, readers, tell us: why do you think “Harvard” is on the list?

Read more: Man Could Face 20 Years In Prison For Clearing Browser History