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 ?
He's living the life of Riley in an expensive and trendy area of London without having to pay a penny in rent or bills.
Cue eight weeks of fun in the sun, eating ice creams and living the life of Riley.
It's tough if you're feeling overwhelmed and exhausted trying to keep all the balls in the air and you see other people who appear to be living the life of Riley.
Gemma, who is looking forward to her reunion with George later this week, said: "I can just imagine him living the life of Riley.
Surely we have enough members already living the life of Riley in Cardiff Bay.
What we do not need is more bloated fat-cats claiming telephone number expense account payments for jawing away about trivia in their ivory tower in Cardiff Bay and living the life of Riley at the taxpayers' expense
One report by the Intergenerational Foundation shows while young people are having to - gasp - share houses with friends, their parents are out living the life of Riley, entertaining themselves at restaurants, in theatres, buying cars and indulging in holidays.
Mrs Mayes, 67, of Stevenage, added: "We are sort of hoping that James's name is not read out, that it was not on the list, and that perhaps he is living the life of Riley somewhere.
A DOG who was found trapped down a manhole with a piece of rope tied around his neck is now living the life of Riley in a new home.
Richard Bloomfield, defending, said: "This is not that of a man living the life of riley - he was shoring up a business that was failing.
I worked from the age of 15 to 68, mainly on a minimum wage, and I think those who have been living the life of Riley should be made to pay all the money back.
I have been out ofwork, it is terrible, you can feel inadequate, and having no money is not living the life of Riley.
THIS time last year the Kaiser Chiefs were relatively unheard of but now the Leeds-born indie boys are living the life of Riley.
I was living the life of Riley and I became so depressed,' he said.
As yet I have no comments on the squatter-type status of the house from Miss Six as she's been living the life of Riley down my mother's.