Posted by ESC on October 21, 1999
In Reply to: Re: Jones-ing It... posted by ESC on October 19, 1999
: : I heard someone (from the south) use this expression when describing another employee's performance. It wasn't said in a very positive tone, so I was wondering if anyone out there had any idea exactly what it means, and where it came from.
: : The closest I came up with was Keeping Up with the Joneses, but I don't know if they are related.
: I looked in several slang books including one on southern speech and one called "Black Talk," but only references I could find were "Jones," meaning a drug habit or craving, and "Jones" or "Mr. Jones" for penis.
: I like your idea about keeping up with the Jones. Maybe it means "getting above your raisin'" or "putting on the dog" or "talking big and acting rich."
Found it. In my newly arrived "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, H-O" by J.E. Lighter, under Meaning 2 for "jones," it has "2. to idle; kill time. 1984-88 Safire 'Language Maven' 23: 'Jonesin' -- Doin' nothin' '"