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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

To trap or enclose one in a particular space or area. We're getting new floors put in downstairs, so we're all caged in upstairs right now. Be sure to close the gate and cage the dog in the back yard.
See also: cage

cage (someone or something) up (in something)

To trap or enclose one in a particular space or area. Be sure to close the gate and cage the dog up in the back yard.
See also: cage, up

rattle (one's) cage

To purposefully anger, upset, or unnerve someone, especially to affect their performance or undermine their credibility. He makes a point of taunting his opponent before each match in order to rattle their cage. The audience member asked a number of embarrassing questions about her past in an obvious attempt to rattle her cage.
See also: cage, rattle

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

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

rattle someone's cage

If you rattle someone's cage, you do or say something that upsets or annoys them. One thing I've learnt as an editor is that you can't create a truly superb magazine without rattling someone's cage. I don't rattle their cages and they don't rattle mine.
See also: cage, rattle

rattle someone's cage

make someone feel angry or annoyed, usually deliberately. informal
A humorous comparison is implied between the person annoyed in this way and a dangerous animal taunted by spectators outside its cage.
See also: cage, rattle

ˌrattle somebody’s ˈcage

(informal) annoy somebody: Who’s rattled his cage? OPPOSITE: smooth (somebody’s) ruffled feathers
See also: cage, rattle

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 ?
Excited into a still greater resemblance to a caged wild animal by his anxiety to know more, the prisoner leaped nimbly down, ran round the chamber, leaped nimbly up again, clasped the grate and tried to shake it, leaped down and ran, leaped up and listened, and never rested until the noise, becoming more and more distant, had died away.
Pickwick felt very low-spirited and uncomfortable--not for lack of society, for the prison was very full, and a bottle of wine would at once have purchased the utmost good-fellowship of a few choice spirits, without any more formal ceremony of introduction; but he was alone in the coarse, vulgar crowd, and felt the depression of spirits and sinking of heart, naturally consequent on the reflection that he was cooped and caged up, without a prospect of liberation.
Donny and Bob occupy one of the dehumanizing units in these complexes, and their circular litany of endless desperatio n gives expression to a predicament reminiscent of Samuel Beckett's novel The Unnamable, living "like a caged beast born of caged beasts born of caged beasts born of caged beasts born in a cage and dead in a cage, born and then dead, born in a cage and then dead in a cage.
Farm Animal Protection Organization Urges Public to Ask Trader Joe's to Remove All Battery Caged Eggs from Store Shelves
Consumers have a crucial role to play in persuading supermarkets and caterers not to sell eggs from caged systems.
Here the caged stone is simply a uniform external layer, but its monolithic appearance will be eventually transformed by vegetation implanted within it.
Caged specializes in designing durable roll cages for motor sports vehicles.