Some time ago there was a short discussion here about contemporary use of the word jones as a verb or noun to refer to an addiction, to drugs or anything else. As in: he’s got a basketball jones or I’m jonesing for chocolate.

The Oxford English Dictionary has included this definnition in its most recent edition:

jones, v. intr. To feel an intense craving or desire for something. — OED

Here’s a request. If you happen to run into other references to jones used in this way, could you pass them along to me? What I was really hoping for was to find a quote from Spike Lee in which he defines the term in his own words, but that was a long (and thus far, unprofitable) shot. Hope springs eternal, though, so do yell if you happen to come across something, anything, related.

thanks so much, you’ve been a great audience.

5 Replies to “jones”

  1. I’m not sure if Spike Lee invented it, but it’s been around for quite a long time. I grew up in a working-class neighborhood, and the term was in common usage among my peer group by the time I was 16 years old (which would have been 1988).

  2. Lili — I know he didn’t invent it. It’s been around since the fifties at least. I would just like to have somebody talking about the term in a way I can quote that makes a good comparison/distinction to the OED.

  3. I would have sworn the term was unique to my generation, so it’s amusing to learn that it’s been around so long- isn’t it funny how each new generation thinks they invented the “cool” slang words? On my first scan of the entry I managed to miss the fact that it’s been added to the OED (rather than Webster’s or some other standard American dictionary), which is even more amusing to me, since my English husband, who was a hippie/stoner in London in the late 60’s, was unfamiliar with that usage of the word until he heard it from me.

  4. Contact Jesse Sheidlower, editor at large for the OED. He’s a font of knowledge and would probably know =why= OED included that definition and would know what the backup documention was.

    You can find his e-contact info at this site.

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