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The Swear Jar
aka: Swear Jar

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Marta: Somebody stole her SHIRT?! What the f—
Todd and Antoine: Marta! Swear jar!
Marta: ...fudge. Fudge ripple.

One (or more) of the characters has a particularly foul mouth, so another character decides to institute the Swear Jar so that they have to pay up every time they use rude language. Hilarity Ensues as the character who used to swear like a sailor either drops an unfathomable amount of cash into the jar or ends up having to censor everything he says. Also, expect the character who instigated the jar to end up falling foul of his own rules and having to put money in as well. May also appear as a more generic Forfeit Jar if any character is particularly prone to specific words, phrases or acts.

Expect a gag where someone drops a decent amount of money into the jar as an advance on an impending and extended litany of foul language.

Truth in Television in many households (such as English-speaking ones), with varying degrees of effectiveness and longevity.

Don't expect it to last beyond an episode in fiction, though.

For similar ways of keeping people in line, see Employee of the Month and Good Behavior Points.


    open/close all folders 

  • There was one Budweiser commercial involving the profanity jar, with proceeds going to the next case of beer — profanity ensues.
  • There's a Canadian Tire commercial for an auto hammer where, because of numerous uses of manual hammers in places they clearly weren't designed for, someone's swear jar ends up paying for about half the tool being advertised.
  • A Progressive commercial features a variation where an employee has to pay up every time he makes a bad "bundle" joke. Good thing, too, because the jokes keep getting worse.

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • An issue of Nightwing has Alfred reminding Nightwing not to swear while on the radio with him. Dick responds with how much he owes.
  • A Richie Rich comic book story had Mrs. Rich set up such a jar for her family, though most of the swearing only got as far as Symbol Swearing. And yes, Mrs. Rich also fell victim to it.
  • In Scarlet Spider #12, Kaine's Kid Sidekick/Morality Pet Aracely insists that he owes the swear jar two dollars. Quite loudly.
  • In Teen Titans at the beginning of One Year Later (which took place after Infinite Crisis), Ravager and Kid Devil are living under the authority of one of these. Kid Devil insists that Ravager has to pay the jar for calling one of their teammates a "bitch", but Ravager later turns it back on Kid Devil when he reacts to Cyborg recovering.
    Kid Devil: Hot damn! Cyborg's awake!
    Ravager: Your turn to feed the swear jar.

    Comic Strips 
  • Baby Blues has this, with Darryl having to put money into the swear jar numerous times. He eventually comments that he has more money in the swear jar than he has in his retirement fund.
  • In Beetle Bailey, due to an excess of Symbol Swearing, Sgt. Snorkel finds himself contributing.
  • A Crankshaft arc had Ed instate a coffee can for the kids on his bus to fill with pennies when they used bad words. The first one was full by the end of the week.
  • In Knights of the Dinner Table, Patty, a kindergarten teacher, maintains one for her gaming group Patty's Perps. Extreme cases have to go sit in the corner.
  • One Pearls Before Swine is about swear jars. Rat imagines that if he used them, he would quickly pay for his (hypothetical) son's college tuition.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Adopted Displaced story Fortresshy: The Nine Fathers, the RED team decides to start using one so that Fluttershy doesn't pick up on any of their negative language. Upon deciding they'll use the money to buy nice things for her, Demoman promptly unleashes a long streak of curse words before dropping a large handful of cash into the jar.
  • Bequeathed from Pale Estates has Renly Baratheon give a silver stag to his niece Shireen every time he swears near her.
  • Cold Blood:
    McGonagall: Dinner is well underway, shall the elves deliver food to your dorm?
    Harry: No, we both have eaten, already, and to be frank, after that killing curse, I feel dead on my feet.
    Tonks: That's a galleon for the bad pun jar, Mister Potter.
  • Doofenshmirtz Hero Incorporated! features a variant with a carrot rather than a stick - if Doof's class manages to clamp down on swears for the duration of his course, he has promised to treat them all to a fancy dinner.
  • Doing It Right This Time: While signing some paperwork in order to borrow the Positron Cannon, Misato falls afoul of a "Space Battleship Yamato References" Jar. Apparently many, many other people have noticed its resemblance to the trope namer for Wave-Motion Gun and the joke has worn rather thin.
  • Sayori institutes one for Natsuki in the Doki Doki Literature Club Loops. This gets an excellent lampshade in chapter 9:
    Sayori: Now quit rhetoricalizing and help me wrangle!
    Natsuki: Hey! I heard that, Sayori! If I can’t swear, you can’t make up words!
    Sayori takes a quarter from the swear jar and throws it at Natsuki.
    Natsuki: Fair enough!
  • Duran And Kiyohime's Omake Theater: Natsuki jokes at one point that they need to set up a jar for Shizuru's overuse of "Ara", saying it can be her "Ara-ly wage".
  • Evil And Ham: the How It Should Have Ended Bad Guy Bar has a Tempting Fate jar in case a villain taunt's Murphy's Law. Arachne has to put some money in it.
  • In The Fury Within Snape institutes one at Hogwarts because he doesn't want his grandson's first word to be a swear word.
  • In Harry Potter and Voldemort's Champion Dumbledore, while a patient in Saint Mungo's, demands to see Harry.
    Jack: Potter?
    Dumbledore: Yes, Harry Potter, you damn fool!
    Jack: Now, now Mr. Dumbledore, what have you been told about swearing? That's one galleon for the Naughty Language jar.
    Dumbledore: Damn you and your damn jar!
  • A Little Yellow Creeper:
    Aiden: Uncle Harry owes another sickle to the swear jar.
    Draco: I do hope you're keeping count.
    Aiden: I think at this rate he'll be able to put all of us through university.
  • In Lord Potter's Own Will Harry invites several friends to join him at his home in Ireland. Remus, while going over the house rules, states that there's both a swear jar and a snogging jar, the latter to discourage excessive PDA.
  • In Origins, Jack is repeatedly taunted by the existence of a swear jar that not only has she filled up many times but as further encouragement, it is used to buy meals for Brick who makes a deliberate point of purchasing things Jack enjoys...before eating them in front of her.
  • In President for a Day, the Briefs household has one. Vegeta has to put twenty zeni in it after he calls the Quantum Dynamic executives "greedy pricks".
  • RWBY ABRG has a Running Gag of Ruby disliking swearing and bringing up a swear jar.
  • In A Simple Misunderstanding About Fawkes Harry has to contribute seven galleons to Draco's swear jar, then tosses in an IOU for a hundred to cover whatever he says the next time they have sex.
  • In the Sorrowful and Immaculate Hearts series, Marty Kent is a Cool Old Lady who knows a lot of words you wouldn't expect to hear from Clark Kent's ma. In "Christmas in Kansas", Jonathan recalls that when Clark was little he instituted a swear jar for her — only instead of putting money in, she had to take out a slip of paper and do whatever task was written on it. (Judging by the reminiscent look they both get at this point, the tasks weren't just things like "Do the washing up" or "Take the trash out"...)
  • The Soulmate Timeline: Motoko Beyaku has the ability to create these thanks to her abilities as a Magical Girl, though unlike a regular swear jar it can magically insert a coin into itself every time someone swears within a fairly large area into it. She admits to the other Magical Girls when she shows it that she isn't quite sure where the money comes from, but setting a ton of the things around the city is an easy way to keep both herself and her six siblings fed and housed.

  • One story about Paul Bunyan tells about an idea he had during the worst winter in history, which was so cold that spoken words froze in mid-air. Thinking it would cure his men of foul language, every time a cuss-word was frozen, he had it picked up and labeled with the owner's name; when spring finally came and words started to thaw out, his men all had to listen to their own cussing. It actually worked on some of the ones with the dirtiest language.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the Australian lawn bowls film Crackerjack a swear jar is implemented at the Cityside Bowls Club.
    Gwen: Swear jar, Mr. Simpson.
    Jack Simpson: Swear jar? What's that?
    Mrs. Jenkins: It's a jar you put money in if you say "fuck".
  • Legally enforced by the Verbal Morality Statute in Demolition Man, as you are fined electronically by monitor machines every time you swear. Exploited by John Spartan when he finds out there's no toilet paper in the future, with people instead using a seashell-looking object that Spartan can't work out. After getting his first fine, he gives the machine (which issues the offender a ticket) a Cluster F-Bomb to get the paper he needs.
  • Hot Fuzz:
    • Each swear is given various rates, while some letters are replaced by Symbol Swearing. Except the word with the highest rate, Cunt. Nicolas Angel and Andy Wainright have a heated argument, and both turn aside to politely thank their respective guy for paying in. The argument started with Nicholas paying in advance for his first swear.
      Nicholas: [clink] Leslie Tiller was fucking murdered!
      Andy: And George Merchant?
      Nicholas: Yes!
      Andy: Eve Draper?
      Nicholas: Yes!
      Andy: Tim Messenger?
      Nicholas: YES!
      Andy: Martin Blower?
      Nicholas: No actually.
      Andy: Really?
      Nicholas: Of course he fucking was! [clink] Thank you, Danny.
      Andy: Murder, murder, murder... change the fucking record! [clink] Thank you, Andy.
    • There's also a somewhat stealthy Brick Joke in all of this. The proceeds of the swear jar are meant to go toward repairs of the church roof. Later, a character is murdered via a plummeting piece of said roof, thus demonstrating the dire need for repairs.
  • In Kick-Ass 2, Marcus has taken to using one on Mindy. She's even using bills instead of coins. In the first scene, we see it, she's already filled it, and comments he'll need a bigger jar. Later in the movie, we see a second jar has been added. That one is full too.
  • The Richard Pryor movie Moving had one. It is shown used normally to punish his daughter for swearing. She then pays in advance at one point so she can cuss him out. Later, when the "move" goes very badly we see Pryor prepare to let loose... instead, the movie cuts to the jar totally stuffed with cash. When he announces the move, his wife calmly gets up from the table, gets her purse, and starts feeding bills into the jar, then tells the youngest children to leave the room.

  • In Anne McCaffrey's Acorna, after the miners take in a little alien girl they institute this, just because they don't want her learning those particular words.
  • Variant in The Berenstain Bears book The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit: to help Sister Bear break her bad habit of nail-biting, she gets ten pennies a week and has to give one back for every nail she bit. By the time she broke the habit for good, she'd accumulated quite an impressive amount of wealth.
  • In Chalet School, fines were issued to pupils who failed to speak the language of the day (English, French, German), or who used slang.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg's mother, Susan, instituted one of these at some point. One of the main reasons behind this was so that Manny wouldn't learn any swear words — if anybody said a swear word (at least in front of Manny) would have to put money in the jar. But eventually, Susan decided to up the ante by banning words like "stupid" and "jerk." To keep themselves from going broke, Greg and Rodrick came up with a series of code words (rather silly ones at that) that they can say to each other at home. But Greg claims that he sometimes forgets to switch back to the normal words when he's at school, making him look silly.
  • In I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader, Annisa's father has initiated a "like" jar—her dad's an English professor and the jar is for when Annisa uses "like" in a grammatically incorrect way. She says that she could have a much better wardrobe if she would stop using the word so much.
  • In The Nine Tailors, the bellringers have a noticeboard dating from the previous century, with a list of rules including a fine of sixpence for swearing. Later in the book, one of the ringers mentions that the Rector still enforces the fine.
  • Overused, a lot, in the Psychic Eye series. Abby uses words like "shih tzu" and "feck" constantly while trying to weasel out of paying up. There is one very funny scene in Deadly Forecast when she gets furious at her fiance and starts swearing and throwing quarters at him, following up by dumping the contents of the entire change purse in his lap.
  • Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain has a variant. The father of the main character, Penelope, has two pet names for her - "Pumpkin" and "Princess." She dislikes both and is trying to wean him off them via this method - "Pumpkin" is $1 and "Princess" is $5. When it comes to "Pumpkin," she hasn't succeeded unless you count making a decent income, as she makes $3 in a conversation of just a few minutes seen around the beginning of the book. "Princess," on the other hand, he doesn't use once in the conversation.
  • The Salvation War has a variation on this: Any time one of the researchers looking for a gateway to Heaven wishes aloud for Einstein / Feynman/insert-Nobel-Prize-winner-here to magically appear and help them solve a particular problem, they cough up a couple of bucks. Last Friday of the month, everyone goes out drinking with the cash. This being the Salvation War, having such people around eventually will be possible, although Norman notes that even then they'll start out knowing less about the newly discovered dimensional physics than the scientists they already have.
    Norman: That was $20 he put in? He must've been wishing for a Nobel Prize winner. Those guys are expensive.
  • In Seven Ancient Wonders, part of the plot is about an oracle's daughter being brought up by a team of commandos, so they implement a swear jar, but only when they swear around her - so she starts following them around, yelling out "Swear jar!" when they curse. The jar is almost always full.
  • Whateley Universe: From Good Cop / Bad Cop (Part 1), mentioned by Tavi to Jimmy:
    "I was eying the press corp, who were stupidly just standing there getting footage or holding mics out... like they were going to interview a gunman while he shot his target. Then a hand landed on my shoulder scaring the shit out of..."
    "Is bad language," Tavi pointed out, solidifying from scattered pixels into his standard ferret look.
    "Tavi... I'm telling a story, it's artistic and dramatic..."
    "Broggy would still make you put dollar in jar."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The recap episode of Cycle 16 of America's Next Top Model showed Jaclyn putting out a swear jar... and promptly getting a huge payoff.
  • In one episode of Angie Tribeca, Da Chief reveals that he has one of these when the squad needs to come up with a large sum of money to buy into a high-stakes poker game. They count the money and realize they're a few dollars short. Angie says "Shit!" in frustration and then they have enough. Tanner and Hoffman later exploit this by swearing up a storm to raise more money. Where it magically comes from before they put it in the jar is, of course, not explained — nor the matter of how Hoffman (a dog) swears.
  • In Californication, Hank Moody has this arrangement with his daughter - both ways. She gets most of the money.
  • Used in an episode of Corner Gas. Lacey (of all people) ends up putting $20 in after a long rant blocked out by a Sound-Effect Bleep.
  • The Daily Show has an "Obama/Osama Flub Jar", and also a "Biden/Bin Laden Flub Jar".
    • There's also a jar you have to put money in every time you quote George Carlin. Which probably makes it function as a regular swear jar as well.
  • On Deadwood Calamity Jane says "owe you a penny" any time she swears in front of Sophia. Naturally, this amounts to quite a lot of pennies.
  • On Designing Women, Carlene suggests a "cuss box," adding that her church youth group had one that funded a trip to France.
  • In one episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rob and Sally have Buddy put 25 cents in a jar every time he insults Mel Cooley. He keeps insulting Mel anyway. On his way out, Mel tacitly walks over and puts four quarters into the jar. He walks up to Buddy and says, "That's for what I was THINKING."
  • The Drop the Dead Donkey office had a Nessun Dorma box for anyone humming the catchy opera tune that became the unofficial theme of the Italia '90 World Cup Tournament. Following the death of Robert Maxwell, they also had a Bad Maxwell Joke box.
  • On Friends, the people at Alexandro's Restaurant had initiated a "shouting jar," pretty much solely for Monica.
    Monica: I did not yell! I am not putting a dollar in the jar.
  • Game On: The flatmates had a "Clare Box" to be used each time Martin's ex-girlfriend Clare was mentioned.
  • The George Lopez Show: In "Trick or Treat Me Right", Benny mentions that she once had to put "twenty flipping dollars" (one dollar for each time she swore) into the Swear Jar for cursing in front of the kids.
  • Grace and Frankie: Played for Laughs in "The Raccoon" when Brianna meets her boyfriend Barry's parents. She's a Sir Swears-a-Lot and they're strait-laced enough to consider "heck" swear-jar worthy, so to defuse the tension, Barry literally makes an impromptu swear jar and has her pay up.
    Brianna: I'm preemptively putting 40 in.
  • iCarly had a version of this in the episode "iHeart Art", where Sam Puckett must refrain from insulting Freddy in order to avoid paying five bucks for every insult.
  • In Kitchen Nightmares, the UK version, there was an episode, Gordon Ramsay challenged a chef to avoid drinking alcohol and smoking during service. Ramsay also set a challenge for himself by not swearing during a service. If either did that, they have to put a pound into a piggy bank. Ramsay had to put in quite a few pounds into the jar.
  • Lucifer. Lucifer thinks a swear jar means Chloe pays her daughter Trixie every time the latter swears. When Chloe clarifies it, Lucifer is more impressed that she "extorts money from your own child." Lucifer then teaches Trixie some "loophole" swear words.
    Lucifer: In my defense, she came up with "Motherflunker" on her own, sharp little minx.
  • Luke Cage (2016): Pop keeps a swear jar in his barbershop and everyone has to make a payment when they curse. After he's killed, Luke holds on to it for a while.
  • In Men Behaving Badly, George and Marjorie have a "lewd thoughts" jar. This gives rise to the associated joke: George admits to putting around 50p in over the last twenty years (he "came over all funny" in the Post Office once in about 1982). However, Marjorie has contributed something in the region of £2,000. George admits he ought to say something, but the money has paid for five caravaning holidays.
  • On Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2024), Jane Smith has her own version of the this: each time she does something sociopathic, she places a marble in a jar. As of the first season finale, she is up to 78.
  • Mr. Show:
    • An episode opens with Bob and David introducing their swear jar:
      Bob Odenkirk: We're going to have a great show tonight.
      David Cross: A great fucking show tonight! (slips a nickel into the jar)
    • Later on in the episode, there's a sketch about evil mastermind Dr. X, who threatens to destroy Earth with an orbital laser if he doesn't earn enough money from his telethon. The telethon comes up short by a few thousand dollars, but then, to complete the Brick Joke, Bob (actually Bob's brother Bill, since Bob plays Dr. X) and David show up with their swear jar, which almost covers the shortfall—they're still a nickel short.
      Dr. X: I'm sorry, gentlemen, but it appears you're up shit's creek.
      David: AH HAH!
      (Dr. X, dejected, slips a nickel into the swear jar)
      Dr. X: Well, we did it!
  • In the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Bloody Hell", the fussy chief clerk of the central records office informs Brakenreid (who is working there during his 10-Minute Retirement) that "cussing is five cents". When Brakenreid sees the extent of the job he's employed to do and mutters the episode title, he's informed that he now owes ten cents; one per word. Exactly the same thing happens with former Chief Constable Davies at the end.
  • Murder One: Ted Hoffman had one at home, monitored by his young daughter. When he said cursed and she brought him the jar, he smiled.
    Hoffman: Here's a quarter — and a kiss.
  • The guys of New Girl have a "douchebag jar". Whenever one of them (generally only Schmidt) does something douchey, they have to put money in the jar. One cold open gag shows Jess with her one version, an "annoying jar", that she has to pay into whenever she's being irritatingly cheerful.
    • There's even a tie-in book where Schmidt records his various payments to the jar, usually with a justifying note that justifies exactly nothing.
      Nick: Not sure yet how much money you're going to have to put in the jar for publishing this book about the jar, but it's going to be a lot. Maybe three digits. Just a heads up.
  • New Tricks has the detectives install one, which eventually allows them to go out for a nice meal on the town. Gerry's a bit aggrieved that he didn't get to chose since he "put most of the bloody money in."
  • Late in Parks and Recreation it's revealed that Tom, Donna, and April have a pool that they all pay into whenever resident Butt-Monkey Jerry does something stupid, and use the money to have a nice dinner every Christmas. Ann's protests and the revelation that Jerry invites them to his family Christmas party every year (the trio only didn't know because they deliberately ignore Jerry's e-mails) leads to a collective Heel Realization that ends that tradition, however.
  • In Pawn Stars, "the old man" institutes a swear jar. It quickly fills, and while counting the money, he swears himself.
  • Not for swearing, but the Power Rangers Ninja Storm episode "Boxing Bopp-A-Roo" has Lothor demand that every time Monster of the Week Boxing Bop-A-Roo says a made-up word, he is to put a dollar in a jar. When Bop-A-Roo's vocabulary starts catching on, it extends to the rest of Lothor's minions. (Funnily enough, the words weren't made-up, Lothor just thought they were.)
  • The equivalent appeared in the "Fingers and Fumbs" episode of QI as a double-or-nothing wager by playing Rock–Paper–Scissors with Stephen Fry - if the panelists used the "F-word" they'd lose points - in the event every game was lost by Fry or was tied.
  • When Tommy was briefly transferred to a Long Island (i.e. much slower paced than Brooklyn) fire department in Rescue Me, his abrasive "city" demeanor clashed with the suburban style of his new crew. The chief actually told him at one point that Tommy had, in the brief time he'd been there, but so much money in the swear jar that the firehouse was about to buy a new HDTV for the rec room (at the time, big-screen HDTV's were still going for about $2000 USD).
  • In the Australian variety show Rove the host, Rove McManus, implemented the "Harrison Ford Commemorative Swear Jar" in remembrance of an interview with the actor that was mildly profane. Rove himself added fifty dollars after swearing in front of then-twelve year old Freddie Highmore. He later raided this same fifty dollars to get a lap dance from Meat Loaf.
  • Once on Saturday Night Live, Cheri Oteri inadvertently said "shit" during the show; in the end, host David Schwimmer made her put a dollar into the SNL swear jar.
  • A Swear Jar appears in a Sister, Sister episode. Unlike most examples, though, it actually serves no purpose other than a means for Ray, who was currently having financial problems, to nick some money somehow. He does have to place a penny in the jar to save face to Lisa when she walks in on him doing it.
  • Steptoe and Son: It's revealed in the final episode that they had been operating a Swear Box at the rate of 10p per swear. The total amassed wealth of the Steptoes (and note that this episode aired in 1974, when £1 had roughly seven times the purchasing power of its current value) is divided thus:
    BANK BALANCE: £3·00
    SWEARBOX: £79·80
  • Supernatural: In the episode "A Very Supernatural Christmas" Sam and Dean get captured by two pagan gods who have been living as a folksy, Stepfordish married couple. When Dean blurts out an expletive after they take some of his blood for a sacrifice, the wife rebukes him and says, "Someone owes a nickel to the swear jar!"
  • Ted Lasso: Season 2 reveals that Roy Kent is supposed to pay his niece Phoebe a pound every time he swears in front of her. Instead of having a jar, Phoebe keeps a notebook where she keeps track of how much he owes her. It's gotten up to £1,236. A comment by Keeley in a later episode further reveals that that was just Roy's tab for that month. When Phoebe meets Jamie in Season 3, she charges him as well, even for a word that he didn't actually say but made her think about (he had given Roy one of his old jerseys with the E in "KENT" changed to a U). Jamie quickly concedes and pays up.
  • One episode of Panel Show They Think It's All Over opened with host Nick Hancock declaring that, in a crackdown on the program's foul language, The BBC had instituted a swear jar, with all money collected to be donated to Children in Need. He then set the tone for the rest of the episode by declaring this "a (bleep)ing good idea" and promptly making the first donation (of many). Panellist Rory McGrath emptied a large handful of change onto the desk in preparation, while Jonathan Ross went one better by producing two wads of banknotes (as he explained, one for F-bombs, one for Country Matters), and eventually handed Nick Hancock his bank card.
  • In Top Gear, when road testing a new Alfa Romeo, presenter James May has a swear box for every time he uses a word like "soul" or "passion". He uses a lot of money. Excerpt here.
  • In an episode of Two and a Half Men, Jake points out that Charlie needs to put a dollar into the jar because he swore earlier. Charlie pulls out a $20 bill: "That oughtta cover me till lunch."
  • Thoroughly explored by The Two Ronnies.
    Ronnie Barker: A swear-box? That's a *bleep!*ing good idea!
  • In the Easter episode of The Vicar of Dibley, everyone on the parish council gives up a common habit of theirs, or else put a pound in the "Lent Fines Box" (used to raise money for a movie club) every time they succumb to it. In Owen's case, this means giving up swearing. As soon as Lent is over, he launches into a Cluster F-Bomb to make up for lost time.
  • In Wimzie's House, Yaya institutes this with the word "stupid", with one cent going into a "charity cup" each time it's said. Only Wimzie's little brother Bo is exempt because A.) He's only 1 1/2 and B.) He doesn't have any money.

  • At the end of Ninja Sex Party's music video for "Three Minutes of Ecstasy", Ninja Brian has to put several quarters in a "murder jar" after killing a yacht full of people. They also appear to have a regular swear jar, a "stab jar", a "watching dogs bone jar", and a Jar Jar.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • One episode of "the Firefly Funhouse" has Alexa Bliss order Abby the Witch to pay ten cents to the swear jar after Abby expresses her opinion that "Randy Orton can go (bleep) himself". Abby then tells Alexa to "go (bleep) yourself" in turn, at which point Bray Wyatt ups the fine to a quarter.

    Video Games 
  • In BUSTAFELLOWS, a variation occurs when Crow would fine the other love interests for disrespecting or badmouthing him in any way despite him being their landlord. Naturally, the guys start placing bills in the jar in advance, knowing full well that they will continue to do so, much to Crow's consternation. Even Nice Girl Teuta couldn't resist adding a bill in as well.
  • You can get one as an item in Luck be a Landlord. If you roll less than 35 coins on a spin, 1 coin will be deducted and placed into the jar. If come rent day you're low on cash, you can smash it for three times the amount put in.
  • In Mass Effect 3, after Joker learns that Jack has been prohibited from swearing around her students, he asks if she's instituted a swear jar and speculates that they could use it to buy a whole new cruiser.
    Jack: Cover your ears, kids. Hey, Joker, f— (cue loading screen)
  • The official Sonic the Hedgehog social media pages posted a picture showing that the characters have a swear jar...and a "Seeing Fan Art We Wish We Hadn't" jar. The first one is nearly empty, the second one is filled to the brim.
  • In Thimbleweed Park the Stupendous Brothers Circus has a "Ransome the Clown" swear jar. According to his contract, Ransome himself is the only one who's exempt from contributing.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • K from Blip starts policing her own potty-mouth, and only messes up a few times. However, it was her boyfriend's suggestion, so when K broke up with him, the jar went in the trash.
  • Manolo sets up a swear jar in Boneheads. When Manny asks what to do with the money once the jar fills, Manolo admits he hadn't thought of that and said the money could be used for anything. All of the other Boneheads decide it's time to curse up a storm and break out the cash to Manolo's anger and Papyrus' disappointment.
  • Grrl Power has Sydney, whose cursing is so prolific that the censor on a news broadcast felt like he was playing Diablo with the bleep button. A later strip shows that she put a down payment on a car with the proceeds of one jar.note  Another one shows up much later. Seeing how she had just gotten back from being stranded in space and chased by four Kaiju, she elects to round up and dump in 10,000 in cash.
    ALT TEXT: Way to be a rich person, Sydney.
  • Walter, the Game Master in Knights of Buena Vista, has a swear jar, but it's more an easy way to gather for the group's pizza fund than for any prudish reasons.
  • The Last Days of FOXHOUND has a variation: Psycho Mantis has an "I Hate You" jar - for when anyone else says it to him.
  • The Commander in Manly Guys Doing Manly Things keeps a jar for the words "epic", "win", and "fail". At least one of them got emptied to buy Jared an Xbox 360.
  • In Ozy and Millie, Millie's house has an "unnecessary hyperbole" jar.
  • In Panthera, the titular team (who all have the power to turn into big cats) have a $5 jar for cat-related puns. It's a big jar and as Onca notes, it's very full. It says a lot that someone added a sticky note with 'Make that "Pardus opens his mouth jar". :3'
    Pardus: So unfair. These Nazis double the fine if I call it "the kitty".
  • Gabe from Penny Arcade tries something similar to save money.
  • In Rhapsodies, one of the ways Rowan keeps her hyperactive but brilliant brother and business partner, Brian in check is to make him put five dollars in the "idea jar". (Plans cost twenty.)
  • A comic from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has a couple that says to their son that every time they swear, they will put a dollar in the jar and donate it to the charity. Years later he is asked why he couldn't go to college. He answers "because of my fucking parents".
  • In Selkie, Todd and his siblings apparently grew up with one of these. When his sister Marta almost drops a Precision F-Strike, both he and his brother simultaneously interrupt her to remind her about the swear jar.
  • This strip of Toothpaste For Dinner features the End-A-Sentence-With-A-Preposition Jar.

    Web Original 
  • The FanFiction Critic has a swear jar named 'The Cube of Profanity'. In one review of a fanfiction (If I Was Your Nazi), another fanfic reviewer posted a video response putting tons of money in the jar (well, not really obvious, but still).
  • Seen quite a bit on The Funday Pawpet Show, where anyone who breaks the show's tenuous PG-13 rating has to put a dollar in the swear jar for each profane instance, the net result of which usually goes towards buying food for the cast and guests. Poink often has to pony up a five or so.
  • During the Isle of Rangoon episode "As The Wheels Turn", Starchibald makes a Communist joke, only for Sunny Jim to tell him he owes money to the Communist joke jar.
    • In the "Don't Touch" episode, Starchibald tells Sunny Jim to put a quarter in the dirty joke jar... even though he didn't say anything, Starchibald knew he was thinking it.
  • German left-wing magazine Konkret invented something quite related, a "Namensverhunzungskasse" (bad name-puns jar) since they are Serious with capital S and cheap jokes, even in satiric mood, are sub-par for them. The name later got expropriated by the German Usenet jokes group for the same purpose (and boy, it isn't sub-par for them - the jar got full very quickly, too bad it's still just Fictional Currency).
  • While reviewing Ghost Rider (2007), The Nostalgia Critic says "Sometimes, there's a man" during Sam Elliott's opening monologue, then dejectedly puts a quarter in a jar labeled"The Big Lebowski References".
  • Outside Xbox has two:
  • RTGame, after a string of incidents involving outright homicidal rollercoasters in Planet Coaster, introduces the Murder Jar to dissuade himself from doing it again.
  • The Spoony Experiment: The Demolition Man example was parodied by the Spoony One when he reviewed the video game based on that movie. His robot, Burton, was programmed to issue a fine every time he swore. By the end of the review, he was so infuriated by the game (and had so many fines) that he throttled and beheaded the robot. The reason for the swearing fines is because Spoony (supposedly) got a sponsorship deal with Taco Bell and they want his show to be all-ages appropriate. He tries to get around it by using curses from sci-fi shows. At the end of the review, all the Taco Bell food has given him indigestion, seemingly setting up a parody of the Demolition Man scene...except that Spoony chooses the game's instruction manual over the pile of fines.
  • While playing Super Mario Maker, Markiplier decided to donate $100 to charity every time he swears. He ends up owing $3,800.
  • TV Tropes: This very wiki, on its Discredited Meme page, shows a swear jar and a "Monty Python Reference" jar (double if it's Monty Python and the Holy Grail).
  • On the WrestleCrap Radio podcast, reference is occasionally made to this, as every now and then co-host Blade Braxton resolves to clean up his language (it never lasts).

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: In fact, the family has dozens of jars, one for each word. Including "moist".
  • Archer: Malory keeps a swear jar under her desk which, given the general dysfunctionality and chaos of the Agency, is rarely empty. At one point, she even curses whilst mentioning the Swear Jar.
    Malory: (to Archer, the usual target of her ire) The "phrase" I'm looking for would fill my swear jar to the fucking brim!.....Dammit. (drops a wad of cash into the Swear Jar)
  • Chowder: For a rock monster who was only capable of saying Radda Radda, Shnitzel is shown to have one that is filled to the brim with money - One of his more endearing qualities when he was missed after quitting his job.
  • In the Father of the Pride episode "Larry's Debut and Sweet Darryl Hannah, Too", Siegfried makes Roy pay a swear jar after hearing him mention Queen Nefertiti, most likely because part of her name sounds like "titty".
  • In one episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Frankie has a jar for every time she's right and Bloo is wrong. When she's finally wrong about something at the end, she has to add to Bloo's jar every time he's right (which was empty), only for Bloo to have to add to her jar again in the end credits.
  • In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Skarr asks Hector Con Carne how he was able to restart his organization, considering it closed down because of bankruptcy—Hector claims that "borrowed the money from an old friend". Cut to see that Skarr's piggy bank has been shattered, causing him to cry "My swear money!"
  • In Home Movies, Brendon's mom assigns him one after he films a movie with his friends containing gratuitous profanity.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness has Po taking a Vow of Silence, but has trouble resisting the urge of speak. Mantis gives him the idea to use a "talk jar" and has Po put a coin in the jar every time he talks.
  • Looney Tunes: Yosemite Sam falls afoul of something similar when told by Bugs Bunny that he has inherited a large fortune, but will lose some of it every time he has an angry outburst. By the time he learns to stop being angry, he's already gone broke.
    Bugs: I haven't got the heart to tell him that he's used up all the money.
  • Milo Murphy's Law episode "Family Vacation" includes an eye-roll jar, an "unnecessary use of 'grand'" jar, an "anthropomorphizing national monuments" jar, and an "unnecessary wordplay during crisis" jar for the Brulee family. The final scene shows that Milo's family has a "sappy sentiment" jar.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In an early episode, when Ned and Marge point out Homer's swearing-tendencies (after Ned's youngest son, Todd, picks up Homer's foul language), Marge comes up with the idea for this trope, and explains that she got the idea for it from her mom, who put up a swear jar after her dad developed a swearing-streak after her got out of the navy. Homer ends up putting money in the jar for accidentally putting a $20 bill in the church collection plate ("Da—"), cursing out a lone bowling pin after nearly getting a strike ("Oh, you son of a—"), calling Flanders a "dirty bast—" after Flanders (who shaved his mustache off in exchange for Homer curbing his foul language) gets checks for starring in commercials, after forgetting to build a door for Santa's Little Helper's doghouse, and after a beehive falls on him while sleeping on a hammock (and was implied to have been stung by many of them off-screen), and becomes so programmed not to curse that he says, "Oh, fudge!" and "Fiddle-dee-dee" before breaking down into Angrish as he kicks down the doghouse. The good news is that the money in Homer's swear jar was enough for Marge and Lisa to just go out and buy a doghouse for SLH (since the one Homer was building was so poorly designed to begin with) along with a case of beer for Homer. Note that when Marge suggests the idea, she's quite lenient about Homer hypothetically swearing if he catches on fire (or if the two are "snuggling"), which raises the question of why she would have charged him over the beehive incident.
    • In a later episode, when low-flying planes are causing items to fall to the floor, Marge runs around trying to save them. Then she turns and sees:
      Marge: No, not the swear jar! It's the only thing holding back the filth! (jar shatters) Nutty-fudgkins!

    Real Life 
  • Director Robert Rodriguez didn't want the crew swearing in front of the young cast in Spy Kids, so he instituted one of these. One of the crewmen slipped up and went "Oh shit...ake mushrooms", in order to avoid the fine. Rodriguez liked this so much that he had Alexa Vega say the line in the movie.
  • Chris Columbus instituted one of these to the adults in Home Alone. Reportedly, Joe Pesci filled the jar in a single day.
  • On the set of Harry Potter the adult actors had a Corpsing-jar. Emma Thompson (Sybill Trelawney) was apparently the chief offender.
  • During the shoot of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, according to the DVD Commentary, only eight-year-old Georgie Henley (playing Lucy) was doing the collecting herself. Her stringent enforcement was referred to with hilarity and fondness by the cast as "The Potty-Mouth Bucket." The biggest donor was James McAvoy.
  • Loretta Young had a very low tolerance for foul language, so she kept a swear jar on the set of her movies. While making Rachel and the Stranger with her, Robert Mitchum reputedly held his tongue about his pious co-star until the shooting was completed. As he exited the set on the final day of production, Mitchum smiled, dropped a $20 bill into the jar, and said, "This should just about cover everything I've been wanting to say to Loretta."
  • They say that the Russian Empress Catherine the Great had once created a box for lying on banquets (the money was later used for charity). When the man responsible for handling the box complained that a certain person should be kept out of her palace to save him from going broke, Catherine the Great replied that she sometimes liked hearing lies. (He advised her to ...visit the Senate more often.)
  • On occasion, language classes use these to enforce a "no-English" (or equivalent) rule. The success of these schemes is variable.
  • Sometimes, when a company changes its name, it will use one of these to make sure employees don't say the old name.
  • They were sold or given away as premiums in dime stores in the 1930s. "I'm just a little swear box/ But I'll cure you if I can/ From a naughty wicked cuss word/ to a tiny little damn!" And on the back: "If it's just a little 'cuss' word/ it's a NICKEL every time/ If it's just a little 'wuss' word/ that will cost a DIME/ For language strong and naughty/ That shocks you as it oughter/ We should really charge you FIFTY/ But will settle for a QUARTER."
  • There is a Twitter Charity Swear Box that lets you donate to good causes for talking shit online. Another such charity is called Fuck Cancer.
  • Comic Relief 2006 briefly used one as a way to get more donations. Generous guys on stage dropped a Cluster F-Bomb, much to the chagrin of TBS.
  • There's a great story about Ethel Merman, who, according to Stephen Sondheim, "had the vocabulary of a truck driver." She was working with the abovementioned Loretta Young, who insisted that Ethel use the Swear Jar. After becoming more and more frustrated with this, Ethel turned to her, placed a hundred-dollar bill in the jar, and said, "Loretta, here's a hundred dollars and go fuck yourself."
  • According to Tom Waits on VH1 Storytellers:
    "We have a swear jar at home and y'know what a swear jar is? It's a jar in the middle of the kitchen and every time you say a bad word you have to put in a buck. And, uh... It helps. Y'know because we have a mortgage and everything. And, uh, I don't know how that ties in here. Oh! Here's what happened! We had the swear jar and the idea was overtime what you do was at the end of the month or whatever you go and check out the money in the swear jar and maybe get "40 bucks" or somethin'. You go buy a tree and you plant the tree and you get the picture. And we took all those bad words and we made something good out of it. I got into the habit of getting up in the morning and putting in a ten. Just taking out a little insurance. We were coming home one night and we had a really good month of no swearing and my wife said that the whole family been really good. So for the next five minutes, you can say anything you want in the car. That was fun."
  • According to Jennifer Lawrence, there was one on the set of The Hunger Games, which she filled up quickly.
  • A joint interview with the Power Trio of the Twilight series reveals that there was one on the set of Breaking Dawn part 2. According to them, the three of them (Kristen Stewart especially) contributed enough to put Mackenzie Foy (Renesmee) through college.
  • On one episode of Hannity, Bob Beckel (a Democratic consultant and Fox News Liberal) got into a heated argument with another guest during a commercial break. He was in the middle of a Precision F-Strike when the show went live again, and the F-bomb was broadcast. His next appearance was on the Fox News show The Five (where he was one of the regular hosts). He carried with him for that appearance and for a few more a swear jar.
  • In a blooper reel for Castle, Nathan Fillion lets out an F-bomb when he flubs a line in a scene with the young actress playing his daughter. He immediately adds, "I owe you a dollar." Somebody off-camera admonishes him with "she's a minor!", to which he replies, "I said I owe her a dollar!"
  • Occasionally, some bars in South Africa will try to put in a swear jar to increase the bartenders' tips. It almost invariably fails since the staff ends up putting in half the money.
  • When Robert A. Heinlein was working at the Philadelphia Navy Yard during WWII, he instituted not a Swear Jar, but what could be called a Complaint Jar: anyone who griped about the vile cafeteria food was fined a nickel, complaining being deemed "unpatriotic". Forbidden (by Heinleinian fiat) to bring a brown-bag lunch and eat at his desk, Isaac Asimov tried to get around the ban on complaints by using the question format ("Is there such a thing as tough fish?"), without success.
  • In the wake of Top Gun, the real-life Navy Fighter Weapons School instituted a $5 penalty for quoting the movie.
  • In Massachusetts one Medflight team has instituted an "MVA Jar" due to the preferred terminology for referring to a car crash shifting from "Motor Vehicle Accident" to "Motor Vehicle Collision" and have to put a quarter in every time they say MVA. It's gathered quite a bit so far.
  • During both World War I and World War II, once Germany took over Alsace-Lorraine they passed laws making the official language of the province German and fining anyone who used French. A story (told of both wars) claims a lady walked into the occupation headquarters with a cheerful Bonjour and paid the fine twice "for the next time".
  • Sir Arthur Sullivan once told the story that H.M.S. Pinafore was so popular in New York that polite society established a fine for gratuitously quoting it:
    "My dear old friend Frederick Clay was in church one Sunday morning with the Barlows, one of the best-known families in New York, and the preacher concluded a most eloquent sermon with the impressive words, 'For He himself hath said it.' Clay whispered into Sam Barlow's ear the continuing line: 'And it's greatly to his credit,' promptly took out half a dollarnote  and silently placed it in Mr. Barlow's hand!"
  • In Season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Chloe Bennet's character officially abandoned the alias "Skye" in favor of her birth name of "Daisy Johnson". When filming Season 3, the show's staff set up a "She's Daisy Now" jar, and everyone had to put a dollar in the jar whenever they said "Skye" instead of "Daisy".
    • The writers room for Agent Carter had a similar "Stark Jar" that had to be paid into whenever someone referred to Howard Stark as "Tony Stark".
  • A description from 1674 of the rules of order in a coffee house lists "Let him forfeit Twelve-pence who shall Sweare." Of course, in the 17th century, the main concern would have been blasphemous oaths like "God's wounds!"
  • From the rules of the house of Sir John Harington's house in 16th century England: "For each oath, a servant would be fined a penny."
  • The staff of Hey Dude! kept one of these on set. The teen actors had to pay even if they said "God".
  • The cast and crew of My Girl kept two of them on the set to accommodate Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin. After the two of them wrapped up their final scene, Jamie Lee Curtis gave them the filled jars as a goodbye gift and told them to "Fuck off".
  • The crew of the The Suite Life of Zack & Cody tried to start one on set to keep the adult actors from swearing in front of Dylan and Cole Sprouse. It was scrapped when the Sprouse twins witnessed the crew attempt to make Kim Rhodes pay up and pointed out that, being middle school aged, they were used to hearing swears.


Alternative Title(s): Swear Jar


Malory's Swear Jar

Malory puts a quarter in her swear jar after saying the F word.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheSwearJar

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