One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
plural nounusually the Joneses
A person's neighbours or social equals.
- ‘If overtaking the Joneses is on the agenda, nothing beats two slave boys turning an ox on a spit, but this can be impracticable for the average semi's garden.’
- ‘Keeping up with - or outdoing - the Joneses is alive and well and breeding in the younger generation.’
- ‘While Bubba filled the gas tank we'd visit about some earth-shattering subject like the new fence the Smiths were putting up to spite the Joneses.’
- ‘I'm not sure which is the more amusing, though: neighbours twitching curtains to spy on the Joneses next door, or the antics of otherwise respectable citizens who view their insurance contracts as a better bet than the lottery.’
- ‘And to be on the bleeding edge of hip, people instinctively look for ‘the next thing,’ in order to be always seen as a leader, an early adopter, to distinguish oneself from the Joneses.’
- ‘So it's every mum for herself in an individualistic, market-driven world, desperate to keep one baby yoga class ahead of the Joneses.’
- ‘It doesn't seek to keep up with the Joneses, it seeks to destroy what the Joneses have so that they can be as miserable as the envious one.’
- ‘I must admit, I've never really had my finger on the pulse of popular culture, but like a scared turtle, I will occasionally peek out from under my shell and see how the Joneses are living.’
- ‘The usual suspects for Galbraith had changed from the captains of industry to the Joneses across the street.’
- ‘Keeping ahead of the Joneses is a far more seductive proposition than keeping up with a pedestrian virtual bus driver in a fluorescent bib.’
- ‘Electric power was used mainly for lighting - but there were a few cutting edge appliances the well-off could collect to go one up on the Joneses.’
- ‘Not surprisingly, some ASEAN members are whining like neighbors who know they can't keep up with the Joneses, but blame the Joneses for all their woes.’
- ‘Academic seekers for upward mobility tacitly endorse that structure, for without it upward mobility would be inconceivable: there'd be no ladder to climb above the Joneses.’
- ‘It may seem to some people that the Christmas display on Cranmore Avenue is nothing more than an attempt to get one over on the Joneses.’
- ‘Probably the most critical defensive play that you can make to avoid the fate of the Joneses - the vast majority who make money to spend more money on the good life - is to avoid entering their neighborhood in the first place.’
- ‘I don't care what the Joneses have parked in their garage.’
- ‘The culture of the Smith business matters to the Smiths and the Jones' culture matters to the Joneses.’
- ‘To Harris, ‘we’ are a blank-minded mob of automations who not only strive to keep up with the Joneses but require advertisers to tell us who the Joneses are.’
- ‘It's all the parents fault, of course, and that family down the road called the Joneses!’
- ‘Wharton was born Miss Jones, of the Joneses with whom one was obliged to keep up.’
keep up with the Joneses
Try to emulate or not be outdone by one's neighbours.
competitiveness, competition, contention, vyingView synonyms
- ‘Crikey's rugby correspondent Wally Flanker is back from catching up with the Joneses at Cardiff Arms Park - and when Wales takes on England, is there a better atmosphere in a sporting event anywhere in the world?’
- ‘Keeping up with the Joneses in recent weeks has been a hectic affair.’
- ‘There is an element of keeping up with the Joneses, where people are constantly looking at their neighbours to see how they are doing.’
- ‘You are bombarded with this stuff - money will make you happy, and keeping up with the Joneses.’
- ‘Everyone in Wiltshire is going to have trouble keeping up with the Joneses after a newly married couple picked up a Lotto cheque for £2,271, 988 last week.’
- ‘It is a sick kind of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses.’’
- ‘Keeping up with the Joneses acquired new connotations.’
- ‘If you are guilty of the sin of jealousy, you have this redeeming feature: you want what your neighbor has so much that you will struggle to keep up with the Joneses.’
- ‘Keeping up with the Joneses here means having the biggest, juiciest tomatoes in your garden.’
- ‘I would presume it to mean ‘keeping up with the times, keeping up with the Joneses, or being ahead of everybody else’.’
Late 19th century: from Jones, a commonly found British surname.
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