One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounin phrase the life of Riley
A luxurious or carefree existence.‘all the older boys are driving big expensive cars and living the life of Riley’
- ‘The 47-year-old married father of two had been living the life of Riley on the proceeds of the fraud, and was planning early retirement in the Bahamas.’
- ‘There he was, living the life of Riley, happy, free and contented.’
- ‘Life for students is a lot tougher financially these days, compared to when I went up to University in the late Eighties, which was the life of Riley in comparison.’
- ‘She said: ‘We may feel the Asian community is poor but by the standards of rural Pakistan, they are living the life of Riley.’’
- ‘I took out three student loans and lived the life of Riley.’
- ‘Everyone is less fortunate than the successful artist - theirs, frankly, is the life of Riley.’
- ‘We grumble and moan (well I do) but really we live the life of Riley by comparison.’
- ‘I shook my head, ‘Kienan is living the life of Riley, that's for sure - the boy has to worry about nothing and he's so laid back.’’
- ‘However, regardless of the fact that others may think that an expatriate lives the life of Riley, whoever he might be, he or she is usually engaged on a contract for a specific purpose.’
- ‘She laughs: ‘With just one hit single you can live the life of Riley - who knows, you could even find yourself with enough money to afford to write a book.’’
- ‘Most people assume a movie actor lives the life of Riley, but Margaret knew better.’
Early 20th century: of unknown origin.
Top tips for CV writingRead more
In this article we explore how to impress employers with a spot-on CV.