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gilded cage

A life of wealth and luxury but without true freedom, happiness, or contentment. She married her husband because of his fortune, but her lonely life inside their mansion with a man she did not love quickly became a gilded cage.
See also: cage, gild

be (like) a bird in a gilded cage

To live a life of wealth and luxury but to be without true freedom, happiness, or contentment. She married her husband because of his fortune, and now she is a bird in a gilded cage, living her lonely life inside their empty mansion with a man she does not love. John forsook his friends and family in the pursuit of his riches, but with no friends or loved ones, he is now like a bird in a gilded cage.
See also: bird, cage, gild

cage someone or something in

1. Lit. to enclose someone or something in a cage. We caged the monkey in, but it threw a fit. We are going to have to cage in the dogs.
2. Fig. to confine someone or something. Please don't cage me in this tiny room! The health authorities virtually caged in the quarantined population until they could all be tested.
See also: cage

cage someone or something up (in something)

to enclose or confine someone or something in something or someplace. They caged the lions up in strong containers for the trip across country. How long did it take to cage up the lions securely?
See also: cage, up

rattle somebody's cage

to make someone angry on purpose I rattled his cage by telling him I hated his art.
Etymology: based on the idea of rattling (making a noise by repeatedly hitting) the cage to annoy the animal inside it
See also: cage, rattle

rattle somebody's cage

to make someone angry on purpose, often in order to make them seem silly She tried to rattle his cage with questions about his failed army career.
See also: cage, rattle

gilded cage

The encumbrances or limitations that often accompany material wealth, as in She had furs, jewelry, whatever money could buy, but was trapped in a gilded cage. This metaphoric expression indicating that riches cannot buy happiness was popularized (and possibly coined) in a song, "A Bird in a Gilded Cage" (1990; lyrics by Arthur J. Lamb, music by Harry von Tilzer), about a young girl marrying for wealth instead of love and paying for luxury with a life of regret.
See also: cage, gild

bear cage

n. a police station. (Citizens band radio.) Have you ever been in a country bear cage?
See also: bear, cage

the cage of anger

n. a prison. (Streets.) The judge put JoJo into the cage of anger for a three-year stretch.
See also: anger, cage, of
References in classic literature ?
I turned again in time to see the gate of a nearby cage thrown open and three monstrous white apes spring into the arena.
The guard lolled before the unbarred gate of the cage which confined me.
He had his room in dot house-not a cage, but a room-mit a bed and sheets, and he would go to bed and get up in der morning and smoke his cigar und eat his dinner mit Bertran, und walk mit him hand-in-hand, which.
A moment later a limp form crumpled to the floor of the cage.
Carthoris brought the cage to a sudden stop at one of the higher levels of the palace.
At irregular intervals, whenever a fight could be arranged, he was taken out of his cage and led off into the woods a few miles from town.
There is no cage," repeated Leslie absently, plucking at the fringing grasses with her slender, brown hands.
The copying-clerk, or, as the lady said, the brown field-bird, was put into a small cage, close to the Canary, and not far from "my good Polly.
In the hurry they have forgotten to shut your cage, and the upper window is open.
Always the savage beast in the primitive cage growled and roared when they moved him.
Keen eyes inspected the cage and counted the number of warriors.
I've seen him drunk, and on a wager go into the cage of a lion that'd turned nasty, and without a stick beat him to a finish.
It was a divided cage, and a monkey, poking through the bars and around the partition, had had its paw seized by a big gray wolf who was trying to pull it off by main strength.
He had a particular place, where no one else must sit; the Cage was arranged in a particular way, which none must disturb; cookery was one of his chief fancies, and even while he was greeting us in, he kept an eye to the collops.
You let the cage alone, and let me wring its neck will you?