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Posted by ESC on January 10, 2002

In Reply to: Mm-hm posted by R. Berg 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."

JONES - 1. A strong, overwhelming desire for anything you indulge in or acquire and never get enough of - money, sex, chocolate, gambling, clothes, etc. Originally referred to addiction to heroin or cocaine. 2. Penis. From "Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Hood to the Amen Corner" by Geneva Smitherman (Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, N.Y., 1994)

jones - noun. From family name; semantic development unknown. Originally Black English. 1. narc. a. drug addiction, especially to heroin. 1962 Maurer & Vogel, Narc. Add., (ed. 2) 308: Jones: A drug habit. From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, H-O" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.