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I consulted some dictionaries, for example in Cambridge Dictionary the entry for graphic reads

very clear and powerful:
a graphic description/account
He insisted on describing his operation in graphic detail while we were eating lunch

but I am still confused by the meaning of "graphic language" in such a sentence:

WARNING: This story contains graphic language.

Why is language called ‘graphic’, what is its origin?

marked as duplicate by user3169, Nathan Tuggy, Em., P. E. Dant, Glorfindel Oct 8 '16 at 7:36

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  • It means strong and possibly offensive language of an obscene, sexual or blasphemous nature. This is not a dictionary definition. I couldn't easily find one either. – Mick Oct 8 '16 at 1:44
  • @Mick I think you're stretching a point with "blasphemous". I've never seen the warning applied to such things. Vulgarity, obscene language, or explicit descriptions of sex or acts of elimination, yes, but religiosity is not at issue, I think. – P. E. Dant Oct 8 '16 at 1:47
  • Giving a vivid picture with explicit detail. "he gave a graphic description of the torture", synonyms: vivid, explicit, expressive, detailed; More antonyms: vague. – Peter Oct 8 '16 at 1:47
  • @P.E.Dant I did wonder, but then I thought, "If in doubt, what the heck!" – Mick Oct 8 '16 at 1:52

The WARNING tells us that meaning will to do with some kind of offensive language. It usually means that the story will have language (words, descriptions, etc) that is vulgar and offensive. This can be profanity, like the f-word, s-word, etc., but it could also be a warning regarding violent imagery, or other materials that people might find offensive. Often, it refers to sexually explicit material.

  1. graphic
    depicted in a realistic or vivid manner:
    graphic sex and violence.
  2. graphic
    1. sexually explicit

By itself graphic language could also be interpreted as "very clear and powerful" language, though nowadays, this is less likely than the meanings above.

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