Keep up with the Joneses


      • to compete with others
        To strive to match or surpass the material possessions or social status of one's neighbors or peers

      • to feel pressure to conform
        To feel the need to live up to the same standard of living or social status as others in one's social circle

    Examples of Keep up with the Joneses

    • Sally has always been a diligent worker, but ever since the Smiths moved in next door, she feels pressured to step up her game at work. She doesn't want her husband to say, "Looks like the Joneses have a more successful spouse." Sally is determined to keep up with the Joneses in her career.

      The term "keeping up with the Joneses" refers to the idea of competing with or emulating one's neighbors or peers. In this example, Sally is inspired to strive for success in her career after noticing that the Joneses, represented by the Smiths in this scenario, seem to have a more successful spouse. The idiom highlights the competitive nature of society and the desire to maintain a certain lifestyle, reputation, or image.

    • The Smiths have recently remodeled their entire house and installed a state-of-the-art home theater system. If the Joneses want to keep up with their seemingly endless stream of home improvements, they'll need to follow suit.

      This is an example of using "Keep up with the Joneses" in a sentence to describe the competition or desire to maintain a similar standard of living as one's neighbors. In this case, the Smiths are setting a high bar for home renovations, and the Joneses may feel pressure to match or exceed their efforts.

    • In order to keep up with the Joneses in their community, the Browns have started a weekly book club and plan to attend more cultural events in the area.

      This example shows how people may feel the need to meet certain social or cultural expectations to avoid falling behind their neighbors. By participating in community activities and cultural events, the Browns are making an effort to maintain a level of social prestige equivalent to their neighbors.

    • The Johansens have always been known for their pristine lawn, but lately they've been investing in professional landscaping services. The Wilsons, feeling the pressure to keep up with the Joneses, have also decided to upgrade their lawncare routine.

      This example illustrates how people may feel the desire to maintain a certain level of material possessions or appearance to fit in with their neighbors. The Johansens' perfectly manicured lawn may have instigated a competitive response from the Wilsons, who now aspire to match or surpass their lawncare efforts.

    • The Prestons' children have started attending exclusive private schools, leaving the Patels feeling somewhat left behind. If the Patels want to keep up with the Joneses, they may need to consider enrolling their own children in similar schools.

      This example demonstrates how people may feel the need to provide certain opportunities or experiences for their children that they perceive as necessary to maintain a similar level of success as their peers. The Prestons' choice to enroll their children in private schools may have caused the Patels to feel they should do the same to provide their own children with similar advantages.


    The idiom "keep up with the Joneses" can be used to describe the act of competing with others in terms of material possessions or social status. It can also convey the pressure one feels to conform to the same standard of living or social status as others in their social circle.

    Origin of "Keep up with the Joneses"

    The origin of the idiom "keep up with the Joneses" is believed to have come from a comic strip created by Arthur R. "Pop" Momand in the early 20th century. The comic depicted the struggles of the Jones family to keep up with their wealthy neighbors, the McGinnis family. The phrase later became popularized as a way to describe the pressure people feel to match the lifestyles of those around them.

    The idiom has since become a common expression in English-speaking cultures, conveying the idea of striving to match or surpass the possessions and status of others. It is often used to highlight the futility of trying to compete with others and the negative effects of feeling pressure to conform to societal standards.