keeping up with the Joneses


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keep up with the Joneses

To maintain the same lifestyle as one's neighbors or peers. A: "Why did she buy such an expensive car?" B: "Well, she lives in a wealthy part of town—I bet she just wants to keep up with the Joneses."
See also: Jones, keep, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

keeping up with the Joneses

Attempting to live in the style of one’s more affluent neighbors or acquaintances. The term was coined by Arthur R. (“Pop”) Momand, a cartoonist who used it as the title for a series run in the New York Globe from 1913, and in other papers as well, for several decades. Momand based the series on his own experiences as a newly wed young artist living in an affluent New York suburb on a limited salary. Although he and the series are scarcely remembered, the title caught on and by mid-century was a cliché.
See also: Jones, keeping, up
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

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
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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