keeping up with the Joneses


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keeping up with the Joneses

Making an effort to match your neighbors' social and financial status. If you bought a Chevrolet, but the guy who lived across the street bought a Cadillac, you wouldn't, vehicularly speaking, be considered in the same league. But if he took his wife and kids to Europe for a month and you took your wife and kids to Europe for a month, you were keeping up with the Joneses, no matter what your neighbor's last name was. The phrase came from a 1913 newspaper carton strip “Keep with the Joneses,” the name being as ubiquitous a last name as “Joe” was in phrases that used that first name. (See also status seeker.)
See also: Jones, keeping, up