live the life of Riley

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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

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 ?
is on mornings, Wild ducks roam free and live the life of Riley.
The ones that abide by the law are treated like rubbish and others live the life of Riley at taxpayers' expense.
It is indeed annoying to think you're having to work hard while apparently paying for others to live the life of Riley.
He managed to disappear, live the life of Riley and get a nice sun tan.
Otherwise, it'll be people with already pressed incomes who will have to fork out more on travel, paying the price for a financial crisis that was caused by a bunch of bankers and their friends, who continue to live the life of Riley.
I myself have arthritis in my ankle and knee, and I cannot walk far without difficulty, and I'm certainly not athletic in any shape or form, nor do I live the life of Riley, as he assumes.
He may have steered the bank on to the rocks and helped trigger the worst economic crisis in memory, but Sir Fred continues to live the life of Riley.
Jamie should he congratulated for raising awareness of the suffering of factory farmed animals, but he is seriously misguided if he thinks that British pigs live the life of Riley.
But anyway, isn't it a little disingenuous for Jamie Oliver to tell us we shouldn't buy cheap chicken because he can afford to pay whatever he wants for chickens to live the life of riley before being slaughtered and roasted on a plate.
I could live the life of Riley for the next six-and-a-bit years, selling my house and all my other assets and splurging the money on booze, fags, drugs and lap dancers.
Once it is formed, the Scots can no longer live the life of Riley at England's expense, and Scottish New Labour will be finished.
Why should Native people on reserves work or start businesses when they can live the life of Riley tax-free?
He told The Times: "People need to appreciate that you can't work from 25 to 55 and then live the life of Riley to 95.
We do realise the BHB requires funding and that owners and the industry require decent prize-money-we are not going to pocket the money and live the life of Riley.
There are very few people on benefits who live the life of Riley and those on Channel 5 were not living it up.