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life of Riley

noun, Informal.
1.
a carefree, comfortable, and thoroughly enjoyable way of living:
Since winning the lottery, he's led the life of Riley.
Origin
1920-1925
1920-25; perhaps after the Reilly mentioned in various songs popular around 1900, as “The Best of the House Is None Too Good for Reilly”
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin and History for life-riley

life of Riley

n.

"life at ease," expression popularized by 1917, American English, sometimes said to trace to various songs from c.1902.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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life-riley in Culture

life of Riley definition


A life of luxury: “Sheila found herself living the life of Riley after she won the lottery.” The expression comes from a popular song of the 1880s, “Is That Mr. Reilly?”, in which the title character describes what he would do if he suddenly became wealthy.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with life-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.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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