the life of Riley


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the life of Riley

A life of great ease, comfort, or luxury, used especially in the phrase "lead/live the life of Riley." 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: life, of, riley

life of Riley

Also, life of Reilly. An easy life, as in Peter had enough money to take off the rest of the year and live the life of Riley. This phrase originated in a popular song of the 1880s, "Is That Mr. Reilly?" by Pat Rooney, which described what its hero would do if he suddenly came into a fortune.
See also: life, of, riley

the life of Riley (or Reilly)

a luxurious or carefree existence. informal
Reilly or Riley is a common Irish surname. A popular song of the early 20th century entitled ‘My Name is Kelly’ included the lines ‘Faith and my name is Kelly Michael Kelly , But I'm living the life of Reilly just the same’. This may be the source of the expression but it is possible that the songwriter, H. Pease, was drawing on an already existing catchphrase.
1978 Daily Telegraph It is simply not true that we don't pay tax and are living the life of Riley.
See also: life, of, riley

the life of Riley

Informal
An easy life.
See also: life, of, riley

the life of Riley

A life of ease. Although linguistic history fails to reveal who the eponymous Mr. Reilly was, the phrase was traced to the mid-19th century's Irish immigration to the United States. The phrase was used in popular songs and on the stage, and was most recently used as the title of a very successful radio program and later television series starring William Bendix as Chester A. Riley, whose signature comment, “What a revoltin' development this is,” became a popular expression during the mid-20th century.
See also: life, of, riley
References in periodicals archive ?
The life of Riley is happy, but she's fed up with the implied criticism from people for being unembarrassedly single, or of getting their sympathy for her single state.
So we found him a nice four-acre field - he doesn't really like being indoors - and he has his pony pal and he lives the life of Riley.
I know you think I have the life of Riley, and I'm certainly not complaining, but just to give you an idea of the schedule that sometimes wrecks my body clock, last Friday night I commentated on Porto v Valencia in the European Super Cup Final in Monte Carlo.
All of this obsession, this fixation, about people having the life of Riley here, it's utter nonsense.
Winstone - brilliant as ever - stars as Gal Dove, a retired crook happily living the life of Riley in his Spanish villa when he gets the proverbial offer he can't refuse to do a job back in London for the psychotic Logan.
Seven years is a long time to be miserable while this other guy is living the life of Riley.
The ones you say live the life of Riley are the ones that don'twork and have no intention ofworking.
Anybody who thinks footballers have the life of Riley should check out Barton's latest admission.
In the life of Riley two people play a significant role ( Phil Sharpe and Glenn Turner.
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.
Stan owns Newcastle and has horses with me, and the owners of this horse, the Life Of Riley Partnership, know him well as they are also in property.
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.
These people have been elected by the public to look after their interests, not so that they can live the life of Riley.
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