jonesing

If you’re “jonesing,” you have a strong need, desire, or craving for something. In current slang use, jonesing has evolved from a narcotics-addiction origin to a general yearning. It seems to have shouldered aside the phrase “to have the hots for.”

Examples: “I’m jonesing for a little ganja.” “I’m jonesing for some soul food.”

“Jones” and “jonesing” are first found in written form pertaining to prohibition times.

Later, in the 1960s, a “jones” was strictly a craving for heroin. Junkies had been using “Mr. Jones” as a code name for the drug since it became popular with Beatniks in the late 1950s. “I’m looking for Mr. Jones” was a good way to score when you were new in town and didn’t yet have a regular dealer. The term evolved as the years went by, and eventually when an addict was alternately sweating and shivering while in need of a fix, he or she was described as “jonesing.” 

In the early 1970s, “jones” had expanded to describe any sort of severe longing or craving, whether for food or a relationship or a shiny new sports car. But there’s no evidence to support the idea that it came from “keeping up with the Joneses.”

Jones and Smith are common surnames, but Smith hasn’t acquired any history. Smithing still just means working as a blacksmith. There’s scope for some creativity there.

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