Jonesing – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Do you ever get a sudden, intense craving for something? Maybe it’s a particular food, cigarette, or even a person. If you do, you’re said to be “jonesing” for it. It’s a word that can have different meanings and definitions depending on its context. Let’s explore the purpose of this word in detail so that you know how to use it correctly in any situation. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


Jonesing is defined as “an intense craving or yearning.” The term is most commonly used for drug addiction but can be used more broadly to refer to any craving.

When people are “jonesing,” they are experiencing an intense and unquenchable desire for something, usually food. A lot of people use it when they have a strong taste for food or beverages but also in those who have intense cravings and feel like they need to eat something right away.

There are also cases where people can be “jonesing” to do something they usually wouldn’t do, such as binge drinking to forget their problems or binge eating to gain weight.

Example Usage

  • I’m jonesing for a burger. I haven’t had one in ages!
  • I’ve been jonesing for a cigarette all day. I can’t wait to smoke one.
  • Stop jonesing for cake; you’re supposed to be on a diet!
  • I’m jonesing for a new car. I’m going to buy one next week.
  • I’m jonesing for a cup of coffee
  • I’m jonesing for a hit of cocaine.


“Jonesing” is derived from a slang word for heroin addicts, “jones.” The term “jones” was first used in the early 1900s. In the 1960s, heroin addicts, dealers, withdrawals, and drug addiction were nicknamed Mr. Jones or jones in New York.

The phrase “to jones for something” was first recorded in print in 1967. Later in the 1970s, the word jonesing became more common in print and has been used this way since then. From the 1990s to 2000, it has become more widespread and is now used to refer to any craving, not just drug addiction.

Phrases Similar to Jonesing

  • “Pining for” means to desire or crave something intensely.
  • “Yearning for” means to have a persistent desire for something.
  • Hankering for” means to have a craving or desire for something.
  • “Being antsy” means to be nervous or impatient about something.
  • “Hooked” means to be addicted to drugs or a substance.
  • “Craved” means to have an intense desire for something.
  • “Junkie” is another word for a drug addict.
  • “Covet” means to desire something greatly.

Phrases opposite to Jonesing

  • “Satisfied” means to be content with what one has.
  • “Quenched” means to satisfy thirst or craving.
  • “Relieved” means to be free from anxiety, pain, or doubt.
  • “Calmed” means to become quiet or less agitated.
  • “At ease” means to be free from anxiety or stress.
  • “Comforted” means to be consoled in times of distress.
  • “At peace” means to be free from tumult or disturbance.

What is The Correct Saying?

  • The correct saying is “Jonesing for.” It is the most common way to use the word and is how it is defined in the dictionary.
  • The second most common usage is “to be jonesing for.” This usage is less common but still heard occasionally.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say Jonesing

  • “I’m jonesing it” – This is incorrect. You cannot “jones it.”
  • “I have the jones for it” – This is incorrect. It should be, “I have a jones for it.”
  • “He was jonesing really bad” – This is incorrect. It should be, “He was jonesing badly.”
  • Other incorrect variations include: “jonesing to,” “be jonesing,” and “joneses.”

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Jonesing

  • “I’m jonesing for chocolate cake”
  • “I’m jonesing for a piece of cake.”
  • “Would you like a cup of coffee? I’m jonesing for one myself.”

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