lead/live the life of Reilly/Riley

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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

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

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

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

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 ?
Never Satisfied LIVIN' on a penshun It's not much of a do The dough's not fit to menshun The time 'angs 'eavy too Yer'll live the life of Reilly The politicians said Don't think much uv Reilly If that's the life 'e led My pants 'r on the slack side The Scouse is blind these days Sittin' on yer backside Ain't a job wot pays The missis gets 'er 'ur done On Mondees arr 'arf price There's passes for the buses Irr all sounds very nice Burr-d sooner 'ave the ackers A'd do without each perk Ter be back with me wackers Grumbling about werk by the late Stella Blainey
Does he really think that people live the life of Reilly on benefits?
Haughty, selfish, unpleas- antly loud, aggressive and contemptuous of townies - even though many live the life of Reilly courtesy of taxpayer handouts.
Now some woman has published a study accusing her sisters of chucking up work to live the life of Reilly while hubby sweats his guts out.
When you live the Life of Reilly, you never get beaten, you never eat humble pie, you never see your guys on the receiving end.
You don't have to work and you can live the life of Reilly and shop every day.
They assume, quite wrongly, that they live the life of Reilly at our expense, eating everything in sight.
If you're an anti-blood sports campaigner, let me at least comfort you with the thought that 20th century foxes (a new film company perhaps) live the life of Reilly compared to their ancestors 200 years ago.
by Jacqueline Bishop, via email Never Satisfied LIVIN' on a penshun It's not much of a do The dough's not fit to menshun The time 'angs 'eavy too Yer'll live the life of Reilly The politicians said Don't think much uv Reilly If that's the life 'e led Me pants 'r on the slack side The Scouse is blind these days ** Sittin' on yer backside Ain't a job what pays The missis gets 'er 'ur done On Mondees arr 'arf price Ther's passes for the buses Irr all sounds very nice Burra'd sooner 'ave the ackers A'd do without each perk Ter be back with me wackers Grumbling about werk by Stella Blainey, sent in by her daughter, Ann