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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

bear cage

A police station. Likely related to highway patrol officers being called "bear," a possible reference to Smokey the Bear (a cartoon character who wears a hat similar to those sometimes worn by the highway patrol). Well, I had to go down to the bear cage this morning because it seems that my son got arrested last night on his way home.
See also: bear, cage

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

cage of anger

A state of intense anger or rage that inhibits one's ability to forgive others or move on with one's life. Tom has been trapped in a cage of anger ever since his wife and child were killed, lashing out at everyone and everything around him. I know what she did was horrible, but you can't stay in this cage of anger your whole life.
See also: anger, cage, of

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

rattle (one's) cage

To purposefully anger, upset, or unnerve one, especially to affect their performance or undermine their credibility. He makes a point of taunting his opponents 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

ˌrattle somebody’s ˈcage

(informal) annoy somebody: Who’s rattled his cage? OPPOSITE: smooth (somebody’s) ruffled feathers
See also: cage, rattle
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
He turned his back on the cage, and set out to leave the room.
"By the way," said he, "was there not some one in that cage?"
"At liberty!" growled Tristan "Doth not your majesty wish to have him detained a little while in a cage?"
He saw that Numa was still alive and that the guards were even dozing beside the cage. A lion is no great novelty to a black man in the lion country, and the first keen edge of their desire to worry the brute having worn off, the villagers paid little or no attention to the great cat, preferring now to await the grand event of the night.
With the lion's skin under one arm the ape-man dropped to the ground in the dense shadows beneath the tree and then circled behind the huts until he came out directly in the rear of the cage, in which Numa paced nervously to and fro.
Behind the cage Tarzan adjusted the lion's skin about him, just as he had upon that memorable occasion when the apes of Kerchak, failing to pierce his disguise, had all but slain him.
The strong light from the fire fell full upon the lion head and the blacks leaped to the conclusion, as Tarzan had known they would, that their captive had escaped his cage.
They had been hunting a lion securely housed within a strong cage, and now that he was at liberty among them, an entirely different aspect was placed upon the matter.
Springing to the top of the cage he pulled upon the cord which raised the door, and a moment later a great lion in the prime of his strength and vigor leaped out into the village.
This is just a most unfortunate affair; but what would ye have me do -- boxed up in this bee-skep of a cage of mine -- but just set my friends to the cartes, when I can get them?
Carthoris brought the cage to a sudden stop at one of the higher levels of the palace.
Once more he sighted the top of the cage that held Astok and Vas Kor.
Such motorized cages could help produce greener, healthier, and more numerous fish, just when humans need them the most.
The animal welfare group also said that cage-free hens generally have better lives than birds confined in battery cages, and that caging is a significant cause of laying hen suffering.
UNH's experimental farm is located in water nearly 200 feet deep with strong currents that disperse feces from the four fish cages; after five years of careful monitoring, Langan says there has been no detectable changes in nutrient levels in either the surrounding water or the sediments on the seafloor.