Swear jar

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A swear jar in China containing Reminbi

A swear jar (also known as a swear box, swearing jar, cuss jar, or cuss bank) is a device to help discourage people from swearing.[1] Every time someone utters a swear word, others who witness it collect a "fine", by insisting that the offender put some money into the box.[2] The container may be made of glass, porcelain, or metal, and may have a lid with a slot. From time to time, the accumulated money may be used for some agreed-upon purpose, or contributed to charity.

A swear jar might not be a physical object; instead, a notional swear jar is referred to by people to indicate someone's use of bad language has been noted.

Commercially produced[edit]

Most swear jars are homemade, however tins and boxes specifically designed for the purpose are marketed commercially, some of which have a "scale of charges" printed on them. Various materials are used to produce them. Earlier designs were commonly porcelain. Modern versions, often glass, are available online via eBay, other shopping websites, and even sites dedicated to selling only swear jars.

In popular culture[edit]

This device has been referred to in numerous novels, and has been a main theme in various television sitcoms and movies. Here are some examples of such:

  • In the 1975[citation needed] BBC television comedy sketch by The Two Ronnies entitled "Swear Box". Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker played customers in a public house who keep swearing and are repeatedly told to put coins in a tin by a barmaid. The swear words themselves are bleeped out for comic effect.
  • In the episode "Curses" of the television sitcom Home Movies, a swear jar is used as a main theme.
  • An episode of the Australian sitcom Hey Dad..! also featured a swear box.Luke Cage (TV series)
  • The family in the 1988 film Moving uses a swear jar to accumulate money when profanity is used within the house.
  • In the television series Crash & Bernstein, the character Martin Poulos (played by Danny Woodburn) carries a swear jar wherever he goes into which he swears to prevent others from hearing his profanity.
  • Homer Simpson uses a swear jar in The Simpsons episode "Bart the Lover"
  • Jon Stewart uses a literal swear jar on the television show The Daily Show as a comedic device. When outraged, he screams profanity into the jar.[3]
  • The band name Ten in the Swear Jar refers to the putting ten dollars into a swear jar.
  • The concept was used in relation to a review of a car in Series 10, Episode 6 of Top Gear in 2007.
  • In 2008, Anheuser Busch produced "Swear Jar", a viral video advertisement for Bud Light beer. In the video, a swear jar is placed in an office, with workers being told that money accumulated in the jar would be used to purchase a case of Bud Light beer. The video has received over 12 million views and won a Silver Lion at the 55th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, a Silver Clio at the 2008 Clio Awards, and a Creative Arts Emmy Award for "Outstanding Commercial" at the 60th Creative Arts Emmy Awards.[4][5]
  • A swear box was used in the 2007 film Hot Fuzz
  • In the video game Life Is Strange, a swear jar was used by Chloe and William Price in a retrospective scene.
  • There are also references to a swear jar in the film Kick-Ass 2.
  • In 1993's Demolition Man, swearing has become a misdemeanor. A series of "language-monitors" (with a similar purpose to a swear jar) are set up throughout the city of San Angeles, and offenders are required to pay a fine.
  • Throughout the tv show Luke Cage a swear jar is being carried by the main protagonist
  • Ransome the Clown has a swear jar in the 2017 video game Thimbleweed Park.
  • In the sitcom New Girl, the housemates keep a "Douchebag Jar", of which one of the characters regularly contributes.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Swearing and Bad Language". education.byu.edu. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  2. ^ "Panorama Archive: Dimbleby's swear-box". 14 November 2017. Retrieved 14 November 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  3. ^ "Jon Stewart rips Obama administration over reported VA wait time cover-ups - Yahoo News". News.yahoo.com. 2014-05-20. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  4. ^ "Bud Light's 'Swear Jar' Wins Emmy for Outstanding Commercial". Anheuser-Busch.com. 2008-09-13. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  5. ^ Nobel, Carmen. "Creating Online Ads We Want to Watch — HBS Working Knowledge". Hbswk.hbs.edu. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  6. ^ "What Would You Put in New Girl's 'Douchebag Jar'?". vulture.com. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2017.