lead the life of Riley

lead the life of Riley

To live 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 led the life of Riley compared to the hardships his older siblings faced.
See also: lead, life, of, riley

lead the life of Riley

 and live the life of Riley
Fig. to live in luxury. (No one knows who Riley alludes to.) If I had a million dollars, I could live the life of Riley. The treasurer took our money to Mexico, where he lived the life of Riley until the police caught him.
See also: lead, life, of, riley

lead/live the life of Reilly/ˈRiley

(informal) have a comfortable and enjoyable life without any worries: He inherited a lot of money and since then he’s been living the life of Riley.
See also: lead, life, live, of, Reilly, riley
References in periodicals archive ?
He thinks I lead the life of Riley playing with the children and gossiping.
Dave, 47, claims that his 70 pigs lead the life of Riley at his farm near Chippenham, Wilts, before being herded off to be turned into chump chops.
That way Keaton's double does all the hard graft, while the original can sit back at home and lead the life of Riley.
3 million for one, and it's easy to see why outsiders think novelists lead the life of Riley.