Definition of cage in English:



  • 1A structure of bars or wires in which birds or other animals are confined.

    ‘she kept a canary in a cage’
    figurative ‘his cage of loneliness’
    • ‘What about keeping animals and birds in cages - that has to be cruel.’
    • ‘The movements were smooth and natural, not at all like the juddering actions of a machine and Alan watched in awe as the tortoise craned left and right to take in his surroundings, including the cages of animals.’
    • ‘Due to the severe heat, most animals remain within their cages and predictably, the visitors are disappointed.’
    • ‘In the old cages, animals injured themselves while on the move, wildlife authorities acknowledge.’
    • ‘Living space does not include a structure, such as a doghouse, in which an animal is not confined, or a cage, crate, or other structure in which the animal is temporarily confined.’
    • ‘Birds chirped in cages hanging by the front doors of houses.’
    • ‘One of them had been partitioned with a sheet of corrugated plastic separating two caged birds into even smaller cages.’
    • ‘It comes as no surprise that the lives of animals held in cages is miserable, best efforts to prove otherwise notwithstanding.’
    • ‘And any animal that lives in a cage, from birds to gerbils, will produce droppings that can attract mold and dust.’
    • ‘Do the same around the cages of small animals or birds.’
    • ‘They said many animals were in inadequate cages, including kittens in an empty food container with nothing to play with, and said the place stank.’
    • ‘Small sprinklers have been installed at select areas in the zoo and water is being sprinkled periodically throughout the day on cages to keep the animals cool.’
    • ‘It literally dumped cages of birds onto a pair of conveyor belts, which were activated when you activated the hanging belt.’
    • ‘But I felt sad for the animals because their cages are so small.’
    • ‘Carry-bags and bottles, which are discarded on the premises after use, find their way to the vicinity of animal cages and enclosures.’
    • ‘The primary source of water used for cleaning the animal cages and enclosures, the lake is also the place where the zoo eventually plans to release a large number of water birds.’
    • ‘In it the Committee observed that the housing and upkeep of lab animals was not satisfactory, nor were the animal cages and rooms in which they were kept.’
    • ‘Animals remain locked in cages from closing time at 5 p.m. until 8 the next morning.’
    • ‘Even if you don't own a bird, these splendid cages make for unusual and decorative souvenirs with a distinctively Chinese look.’
    • ‘Quite impressed with their reverence, she walked over to the cage and placed her birds in the cage with them.’
    enclosure, pen, pound
    coop, hutch, crate
    birdcage, aviary, mew
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A prison cell or camp.
      ‘inside the cage, three handcuffed prisoners were fighting’
      ‘each cage had a commanding officer who acted on behalf of the prisoners’
      • ‘Such demands would only mean substituting many small cages for one central prison.’
      • ‘He first worked as a translator in the prisoners' cages.’
      • ‘Handcuffed or in cages, people convicted of no crime are transported to and from these centres in high-security vehicles.’
      • ‘Green uniformed prisoners paced bare concrete cages with not a blade of grass or a single ornament in sight.’
      • ‘Inside the cages, the prisoners remain manacled.’
      • ‘The shutters of derelict buildings creaked and groaned like mall nourished prisoners in cages as he passed them.’
      • ‘Ministry staff were terrified of the minister - terrified that they would end up in a cage in the basement prison if they displeased him in some way.’
      • ‘Black metal guard cages overlook the cell block, and it was in one of these that the 1959 prison riot began when two men managed to overpower a guard.’
      • ‘The cages and guardhouse all suggested close surveillance of the bunker and its contents.’
      • ‘She'd awakened in a cell - a cage - her clothes gone, a blanket by her side.’
      • ‘The so-called exercise yards consist of 25 x 18 foot cages, with prisoners only allowed to exercise alone, wearing manacles.’
      • ‘He looked around and saw that he was in a cell, a cage.’
      • ‘They ran towards the voice and into a room where four cages held four prisoners.’
      • ‘Angel and Lucius meet for an hour a day for exercise in a cage on the prison roof.’
      • ‘The horses were fed and watered as the guard who stopped them dragged me from the cage and towards a cell.’
      • ‘The guards ran to the cages where the prisoner brawls disturbed the whole dungeon.’
      • ‘As his vision spanned across the Prison, he saw cages that could hardly fit a small bed, side by side.’
      • ‘Irony drips as the lover's bed is transformed into a prison cage and back again.’
      • ‘Then he made him limp into a prison cage and locked him in.’
      • ‘The camp consists of small cages with chain-link sides, no bathrooms, concrete floors and metal roofs.’
      snare, net
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2An open framework forming the compartment in a lift.
      ‘we passed the lift shafts, each with its rattling metal cage’
      • ‘The wind flowed from the respective blower is bypassed the illuminators, thereby entering into the inside of the elevator cage.’
      • ‘The elevator uses no cables and is propelled by a system comprising of stators along the shaft and translators on the elevator cage.’
      • ‘At around 17:20, the victim undertook the last work for the day by loading a carrying cart into the cage of the elevator, pushing the button for the second floor and the elevator ascended to the second floor.’
      • ‘When I arrived at the southern rim, the rescuers were all standing silent watching one of these cages being lifted out of the ruins.’
    3. 1.3A structure of crossing bars or wires designed to hold or support something.
      ‘the bottle slots into a light cage on the bike's frame’
      • ‘A wire cage around each container supports the plants as they grow.’
      • ‘She has paid for wire cages on rear windows and her insurance payments are increasing.’
      • ‘The heart of the stagecoach's chassis design is a strong cage that surrounds the passenger compartment and supports cargo on the roof.’
      • ‘Though you will have to look through the affixed mesh cage designed to keep those pesky angst filled teenagers from making life difficult for the street cleaners.’
      • ‘Larger capacity water bottles only allow you to carry a limited amount of water - even when you outfit your bike with multiple cages.’
      • ‘We drilled into several terrace units, and measured the actual depth of the concrete covering the reinforcement cages.’
      • ‘Support your plants with cages, stakes, or trellises.’
      • ‘Jeff's original design used commercial tomato cages, with one pepper plant per cage.’
      • ‘These cages were originally designed for the purpose, as they make it easier to stand the cylinders up and at the same time protect the valves from knocks.’
    4. 1.4Baseball A portable backstop situated behind the batter during batting practice.
      • ‘The two spent early mornings in the indoor batting cages during spring workouts and are constantly gabbing by the cage in batting practice.’
      • ‘They are taking extra swings in the cage and extra bunting practice.’
      • ‘To the right is the batting-practice cage, where we lean the costumes upside-down.’
      • ‘You can step into a batter's cage and hit a few out of the ballpark with one of the baseball games, or go for the gold in racing, skateboarding or tennis.’
      • ‘Dad had placed us directly behind the home plate cage to avoid having any random balls flying at us.’
    5. 1.5A soccer or hockey goal made from a network frame.
      • ‘I broke a goalie's cage with my wrist shot.’
      • ‘A prominent measure of both victorious projects was the removal of the ‘soccer cage’ as an enclosure traditionally dominated by boys and male teenagers.’
      • ‘It all began with a variety of events in the workshops, the half pipe, the basketball court, the soccer cage, the children's area and last but not least the karaoke tent.’


  • 1 Confine in a cage.

    ‘the parrot screamed, furious at being caged’
    ‘a caged bird’
    • ‘Make sure that the bird is caged and the cage is covered by a thin cloth or sheet to provide security and filtered light.’
    • ‘The caged bird only sings at night because it was caught and caged when singing during the day.’
    • ‘As soon as they get on the bus they act like caged animals trying to get out.’
    • ‘If a dog kills something it is destroyed immediately; it is not caged for the rest of its life.’
    • ‘A dog snarled at us viciously but he was caged and couldn't get at us.’
    • ‘Our first thoughts were that it was an escaped caged bird.’
    • ‘Instead of being caged, animals and birds have to be allowed the pleasure and security of their natural surroundings, he said.’
    • ‘The trick is to cage these animal natures in effective institutions: education, the law, government.’
    • ‘In future, should I leave the house I will cage the dogs no matter who else is in the house with them.’
    • ‘Residents were worried it would spoil their view and cage them in.’
    • ‘Older birds must be caged at all times to avoid them attacking each other, or pigs, dogs and humans.’
    • ‘One of them had been partitioned with a sheet of corrugated plastic separating two caged birds into even smaller cages.’
    • ‘There are no performing dogs, caged lions or clowns.’
    • ‘If he passed markets where caged birds were sold, he would buy them purely to let the birds fly free.’
    • ‘Fresh fruit cascades down stone-flagged stairs, caged birds sing in colourful indoor gardens but the price of drinks will keep you sober!’
    • ‘The dogs, cats and birds were mostly caged, often in pairs and sometimes in threes.’
    • ‘Two other caged lions and a horse were also in the entrance to the disco, she said.’
    • ‘The evacuation began with moving out the yaks, continued with tranquilizing the eight large cats and finished with caging the birds.’
    • ‘She has the air of a bird which doesn't want to be caged or tamed.’
    • ‘These hens may not be caged over a manure pit, but they are walking around in it.’
    confine, shut in, shut up, pen, lock up, coop up, immure, incarcerate, imprison, impound
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal Put in prison.
      ‘five more teenage thugs were caged yesterday’
      • ‘The violent sadistic few tend to go on with maiming and violence until someone dies or they are caged.’
      • ‘We urge law enforcement agencies to cage the erring or even unruly drivers to restore order on roads and in stations.’
      • ‘They are caged indefinitely on the ‘suspicion of the home secretary’.’
      • ‘The only cure is for them to be caged in solid concrete walls.’
      • ‘Two teenage thugs chiefly responsible were caged for seven years each after admitting causing grievous bodily harm.’
      • ‘In July he made a personal appeal to the community to help cage a pervert who subjected a mother of two to a horrifying sex attack, after a poor public response to an e-fit picture.’
      • ‘You put his picture up in the Post Office and you go after him until this public enemy is caged.’
      • ‘That May, police all but closed down the anti-capitalist protest along London's Oxford Street, caging thousands of people for more than six hours.’
      • ‘The four attackers were caged for a total of 18-and-a-half years at Manchester Crown Court this week.’
      • ‘He wants to cage suspects for up to 90 days without trial.’
      • ‘He'd be caged for the rest of his life, and no one would care whether he'd killed that baby or not.’
      • ‘Two teenage boys smirked as they left the dock after being caged for a total of six years for a 24-hour violent crime spree.’
      • ‘The man, 30, was caged for life yesterday for killing a pensioner and maiming a student, both total strangers to him.’
      • ‘The five, all of Holme Wood, Bradford, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and were caged for a total of 34 and a half years.’
      • ‘The 14 prisoners, guilty and innocent alike, were then caged in a specially built eleven foot wooden cell on the top deck.’
      • ‘David's family were at Manchester Crown Court when the man was caged for life after admitting murder.’


Middle English: via Old French from Latin cavea.