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 ?
Now she lives the life of Riley, lounging about her new home in Blackburn, Lancashire, and sleeping in a bed complete with a comfy pillow and duvet.
As much sympathy and respect as I have for the Queen, she can't plead poverty when her family lives the life of Riley at our expense.
At first Frank lives the life of Riley, but it's not long before the web of lies begins to unravel and we see a film about family values.
The Hotel Channel 4, 8pm At first glance, it may seem as though Mark lives the life of Riley what with all his party planning and singing, but you'd be very wrong if you thought that.