surname, literally "John's (child);" see John. Phrase keep up with the Joneses (1917, American English) is from Keeping Up with the Joneses, the title of a popular newspaper comic strip by Arthur R. "Pop" Momand (1886-1987) which debuted in 1913 and chronicled the doings of the McGinnis family in its bid to match the living style of the Joneses. 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.
updated on October 14, 2021