Posted by R. Berg on January 10, 2002
In Reply to: Jones posted by ESC on January 10, 2002
: : : Two quickies... the meaning and origin of the verb "to jones". I suspect valspeak here (and thank you to whoever brought that wonderful term to my attention in an earlier thread).
: : : Also what's the origin of "mmm hmm" being used as a synonym for "you're welcome" in the USA? This still throws me every time I hear it, since in the UK, "mmm hmm" exclusively means "yes" or "I agree".
: : : Thanks.
: : I'm not sure "mmm hmm"is used as a synonym for 'you're welcome' unless it is a regional phonomenon like "ehyup" for yes in some parts of New England or "you bet" or "you betcha" for "you're welcome" in North and South Dakota. Where did you come across this?
: A "Jones" is a drug addiction and "Jones-ing" means the craving or withdrawal symptoms. I am away from my library right now, but I believe the terms have their roots in Black English. I'll check that. It has come to have other meanings, like "love Jones," etc.
I can confirm that "Mm-hm" is used as a response to "Thank you" in other parts of the US. I'm in California, and we sometimes do that here when the situation is so casual or impersonal (e.g., a dialogue between a retail clerk and a customer) that the more formal "You're welcome" isn't needed. It is indeed much like "You bet."