Love Jones

Posted by ESC on April 07, 2003

In Reply to: Love Jones posted by mayur on April 07, 2003

: Does anyone know where the term "love jones" comes from?

The short answer is from "jones" meaning drug withdrawal.

JONES - "One of the most common surnames in American English, Jones, has in its spare time developed two drug-related slang meanings. In 1962, David Maurer picked up 'jones' meaning a drug habit.Three years later, Claude Brown in 'Manchild in the Promised Land' used 'jones' in a slightly different sense, as a collective noun describing the horrible symptoms associated with withdrawal from h****n addiction. Jones first appeared in black English. Jones as personified here is clearly not a friend; pure speculation and conjecture suggest that Mr. Jones somewhere became the moral equivalent of 'The Man,' and that drug addiction was seen as an oppression roughly equivalent to blatant racial oppression."

"Jones" acquired a new meaning first recorded in 1970 by Jonathan Lighter and found in the November 1973 'Ms.' magazine article about singer Janis Joplin. David Gertz and Susan Lydon "wrote that Joplin had 'a Jones for love and reinforcement as strong as her physical craving for smack.'"

Popular culture historian John Pontell "uncovered 16 songs with the titles 'Love Jones' in the 1970s and 1980s." From the "Slang of Sin, The" by Tom Dalzell (Merriam-Webster Inc., Springfield, Mass., 1998).