What Does the Expression “Keeping Up With the Joneses” Mean and Where Did the Phrase Come From?

Keeping up with the Joneses has come to mean trying to keep up with your neighbors, in terms of material possessions, at any cost.

The expression comes from the title of a comic strip that ran in newspapers between 1913 and 1931 and chronicled the experiences of a newly married man in Cedarhurst, New York.

Originally titled “Keeping Up With the Smiths,” the cartoon was changed to the “Keeping Up With the Joneses” because it sounded better.

Sometimes the rat race is also referred to as “keeping up with the Joneses”.