riley

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the life of Riley

A life of great ease, comfort, or luxury, used especially in the phrase "lead/live the life of Riley." The phrase is likely of early 20th-century Irish-American origin, but to whom Riley refers is uncertain. Pampered from a young age after his father came into sudden wealth, Jonathan led the life of Riley compared to the hardships his older siblings faced.
See also: life, of, riley

live the life of Riley

To lead a life of great ease, comfort, or luxury. The phrase is likely of early 20th-century Irish-American origin, but to whom Riley refers is uncertain. Pampered from a young age after his father came into sudden wealth, Jonathan lived the life of Riley compared to the hardships his older siblings faced.
See also: life, live, of, riley

lead the life of Riley

 and live the life of Riley
Fig. to live in luxury. (No one knows who Riley alludes to.) If I had a million dollars, I could live the life of Riley. The treasurer took our money to Mexico, where he lived the life of Riley until the police caught him.
See also: lead, life, of, riley

lead/live the life of Riley

  (informal)
to have a happy life without hard work, problems or worries He lived the life of Riley, having inherited a huge amount of money.
See also: lead, life, of, riley

life of Riley

Also, life of Reilly. An easy life, as in Peter had enough money to take off the rest of the year and live the life of Riley. This phrase originated in a popular song of the 1880s, "Is That Mr. Reilly?" by Pat Rooney, which described what its hero would do if he suddenly came into a fortune.
See also: life, of, riley

the life of Riley

Informal
An easy life.
See also: life, of, riley

the life of Riley

A life of ease. Although linguistic history fails to reveal who the eponymous Mr. Reilly was, the phrase was traced to the mid-19th century's Irish immigration to the United States. The phrase was used in popular songs and on the stage, and was most recently used as the title of a very successful radio program and later television series starring William Bendix as Chester A. Riley, whose signature comment, “What a revoltin' development this is,” became a popular expression during the mid-20th century.
See also: life, of, riley