live the life of Reilly

live the life of Reilly

To lead a life of great ease, comfort, or luxury. The phrase is likely of early 20th-century Irish-American origin, but to whom Reilly refers is uncertain. Pampered from a young age after his father came into sudden wealth, Jonathan lived the life of Reilly compared to the hardships his older siblings faced.
See also: life, live, of, Reilly
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

life of Reilly, leading/living the

Living a life of luxury. There are several theories as to the precise origin of this term and the identity of Reilly (or Riley). The earliest attribution is to a comic song, “Is That Mr. Reilly?” popularized by vaudevillian Pat Rooney in America in the 1880s and describing what Reilly would do if he struck it rich. However, H. L. Mencken said it came from another source, “The Best in the House Is None Too Good for Reilly,” by Lawlor and Blake, popular about 1900. Though the original Reilly is no longer known, the cliché survives.
See also: leading, life, living, of
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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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.
Every professional knows that racehorses are the most cosseted of equine species, that they live the life of Reilly for all but the few minutes they are asked to put their best feet forward, and that no-one in his right mind would inflict unnecessary suffering.
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