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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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
n. a police station. (Citizens band radio.) Have you ever been in a country bear cage?
the cage of anger
n. a prison. (Streets.) The judge put JoJo into the cage of anger for a three-year stretch.