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keep up with the Joneses American English

Meaning: People who try to keep up with the Joneses are people who feel it's important to show that they're as successful as others (such as their rich neighbours, "The Joneses").

For example:

  • I'm surprised that Miriam worries about keeping up with the Joneses. I thought she was more mature than that.

  • My grandma said, "Forget about keeping up with the Joneses. The people who matter in your life will respect and love you because of who you are, not because of what you've got or what sort of car you drive."

Origin: This idiom originated in a 20th century American comic strip called "Keep Up With The Joneses" by Arthur (Pop) Momand that was first published in the New York Globe. The strip was a satire that made fun of people who strive to rise in the ranks of "society". The main characters were always trying to seem as classy as their neighbours, the Joneses.

Variety: This idiom is typically used in American English but may be used in other varieties of English too.

Quick Quiz:

I know Keith worries about keeping up with the Joneses because he never
  1. wears clothes that show the brand
  2. goes out without putting on his Rolex
  3. notices how expensive someone's shoes are

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