plural noun

one's neighbors, friends, business associates, etc.: Keeping up with the Joneses has put him in debt.

Origin of Joneses

First recorded in 1925–30



noun (sometimes initial capital letter)

an addiction, especially to heroin.
an intense desire; craving.

verb (used without object)

to have an intense desire for a drug, as during withdrawal (sometimes followed by for or out); I’ve been clean and sober for a week, but I’m still jonesing for a fix.
to have a craving for something or someone (sometimes followed by for or out): I'm jonesing out on a toasted onion bagel.Fans of the series were jonesing to get the sequel.

Origin of jones

1965–70; origin uncertain; perhaps from the family name Jones, or from “keeping up with the Joneses,” or from Great Jones Alley in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, frequented by drug addicts




An·son [an-suh n] /ˈæn sən/, 1798–1858, president of the Republic of Texas.
Ca·sey [key-see] /ˈkeɪ si/, John Luther Jones, 1864–1900, U.S. locomotive engineer: folk hero of ballads, stories, and plays.
ChuckCharles Martin Jones, 1912–2002, U.S. film animator.
Daniel,1881–1967, English phonetician.
Ernest,1879–1958, Welsh psychoanalyst.
(Everett) Le·Roi [luh-roi, lee-roi] /ləˈrɔɪ, ˈli rɔɪ/, original name of Imamu Amiri Baraka.
Henry Arthur,1851–1929, English dramatist.
Howard Mum·ford [muhm-ferd] /ˈmʌm fərd/, 1892–1980, U.S. educator and critic.
In·i·go [in-i-goh] /ˈɪn ɪˌgoʊ/, 1573–1652, English architect.
John LutherCasey, 1864–1900, legendary U.S. locomotive engineer, raised in Cayce, Ky.
John PaulJohn Paul, 1747–92, American naval commander in the Revolutionary War, born in Scotland.
John Win·ston [win-stuh n] /ˈwɪn stən/, 1791–1848, U.S. politician: Speaker of the House 1843–45.
Mary HarrisMother Jones, 1830–1930, U.S. labor leader, born in Ireland.
Quincy (Delight)Q, born 1933, U.S. jazz musician, film composer and producer.
Robert Edmond,1887–1954, U.S. set designer.
Robert Tyre [tahyuh r] /taɪər/Bobby, 1902–71, U.S. golfer.
Rufus Matthew,1863–1948, U.S. Quaker, teacher, author, and humanitarian.
Sir William,1746–94, English jurist, linguist, and Sanskrit scholar. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for joneses

Contemporary Examples of joneses

Historical Examples of joneses

  • I marched off, with all the blood of the Joneses tingling in my veins.

    Tom, Dick and Harry

    Talbot Baines Reed

  • She had been to the Rectory, to call on the Joneses, she told him.

    A Sheaf of Corn

    Mary E. Mann

  • You're the kind—I knew there must be people like you, because I knew the Joneses.

    Free Air

    Sinclair Lewis

  • Some of the Tilburys are down with it, Nancy, and some of the Joneses.

  • The Joneses is havin him come every other day, so the Wynneses is doin the same.

    Through Welsh Doorways

    Jeannette Augustus Marks

British Dictionary definitions for joneses



Daniel. 1881–1967, British phonetician
Daniel. 1912–93, Welsh composer. He wrote nine symphonies and much chamber music
David. 1895–1974, British artist and writer: his literary works, which combine poetry and prose, include In Parenthesis (1937), an account of World War I, and The Anathemata (1952)
Digby (Marritt). Baron. born 1956, British businessman and politician; director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (2000–06); Minister of State for Trade and Investment (2007–08)
Inigo (ˈɪnɪɡəʊ). 1573–1652, English architect and theatrical designer, who introduced Palladianism to England. His buildings include the Banqueting Hall of Whitehall. He also designed the settings for court masques, being the first to use the proscenium arch and movable scenery in England
John Paul, original name John Paul. 1747–92, US naval commander, born in Scotland: noted for his part in the War of American Independence
(Everett) Le Roi (ˈliːrɔɪ), Muslim name Imanu Amìri Baraka . born 1934, US Black poet, dramatist, and political figure
Quincy. born 1933, US composer, arranger, conductor, record producer, and trumpeter, noted esp for his film scores and his collaborations in the recording studio with Michael Jackson
Robert Tyre, known as Bobby Jones. 1902–71, US golfer: won a unique 'grand slam' in 1930 of US Open, US Amateur, British Open, and British Amateur championships
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for joneses


surname, literally "John's (child);" see John. Phrase keep up with the Joneses (1913, American English) is from the title of a comic strip by Arthur R. Momand. The slang sense "intense desire, addiction" (1968) probably arose from earlier use of Jones as a synonym for "heroin," presumably from the proper name, but the connection, if any, is obscure. Related: Jonesing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with joneses


see Davy Jones's locker; keep up (with the Joneses).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.