live the life of Riley

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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

live the life of Riley

If someone lives the life of Riley, they have a very enjoyable life because they have plenty of money and no problems. He was living the life of Riley while we had barely enough to eat. It was like paradise. It was just like living the life of Riley. Note: People sometimes use the verbs lead or have instead of live. These people moan about their lives when in reality they're having the life of Riley. Note: This expression often shows disapproval or envy. Note: This expression probably comes from a song `Is That Mr Reilly', which was popular in America in the 1880's and described what Reilly's life would be like if he was rich.
See also: life, live, of, riley
References in periodicals archive ?
As the Terry Wogan of tyranny, he lived the life of Riley Or, perhaps, considering the circumstances, that should be Von Riley.
The point about the Queen Mother is that, for all her personal attractiveness, she was an anachronism, a reminder of a time when a handful of aristocrats lived the life of Riley and the rest of us tugged our forelocks in civility, a time this country should have moved on from decades, if not centuries ago.
She lived the life of Riley and he bought her expensive clothes, jewellery, holidays and even a BMW.