the life of 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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
These two boys are leading the life of Riley and drawing pay from the armed forces and their contribution to their military effort is absolutely zilch.
He's a bloke for a start and when he fell prey to anorexia he was living the life of Riley coaching football in the States.
As fans, we always think that, with all that money and fame, such a star must be living the life of Riley.
POLICE yesterday appealed to householders to turn in their flashy neighbours if they suspect they are living the life of Riley on ill-gotten gains.
We shouldn't be surprised at this increase in deaths any more than we should be at the discontent among prison officers, who see millions of pounds spent to ensure their charges live the life of Riley.
Thankfully, prison bosses at Hollesley Bay open prison have refused his request - not, I suspect, because they think Jeffrey will abuse the privilege (which unquestionably he would) but because yet again attention will be focused on "holiday-camp prisons" and criminals who, far from being punished, are living the life of Riley at the taxpayers' expense.
Now they have been jailed for life, I hope these men aren't going to have the life of Riley.
In contrast are those living the life of Riley free of expense on Disability Living Allowance.
HAVING spent all his spoils living the life of Riley in Rio for the past 35 years, everybody's favourite train robber Ronnie Biggs is welcomed home to Britain without much question.
He thinks I lead the life of Riley playing with the children and gossiping.
At the time, a source said: 'He's supposed to be paying a debt to society - but has the life of Riley.
She starred in hit sitcom The Life of Riley, written by Groucho Marx.
Sheriff Andrew Murphy told her: "You misused the funds entrusted to your professional management to sustain the life of Riley, buy a flash car and keep your businesses going.
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