One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
plural nounusually the Joneses
A person's neighbours or social equals.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘It's all the parents fault, of course, and that family down the road called 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.’
- ‘So it's every mum for herself in an individualistic, market-driven world, desperate to keep one baby yoga class ahead of the Joneses.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Keeping up with - or outdoing - the Joneses is alive and well and breeding in the younger generation.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Wharton was born Miss Jones, of the Joneses with whom one was obliged to keep up.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
keep up with the Joneses
Try to emulate or not be outdone by one's neighbours.
competitiveness, competition, contention, vyingView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘There is an element of keeping up with the Joneses, where people are constantly looking at their neighbours to see how they are doing.’
- ‘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 here means having the biggest, juiciest tomatoes in your garden.’
- ‘Keeping up with the Joneses acquired new connotations.’
- ‘I would presume it to mean ‘keeping up with the times, keeping up with the Joneses, or being ahead of everybody else’.’
- ‘You are bombarded with this stuff - money will make you happy, and keeping up with the Joneses.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘It is a sick kind of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses.’’
- ‘Keeping up with the Joneses in recent weeks has been a hectic affair.’
Late 19th century: from Jones, a commonly found British surname.
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