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

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

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