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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It comes as no surprise that the lives of animals held in cages is miserable, best efforts to prove otherwise notwithstanding.’
    • ‘Due to the severe heat, most animals remain within their cages and predictably, the visitors are disappointed.’
    • ‘It literally dumped cages of birds onto a pair of conveyor belts, which were activated when you activated the hanging belt.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Even if you don't own a bird, these splendid cages make for unusual and decorative souvenirs with a distinctively Chinese look.’
    • ‘Do the same around the cages of small animals or birds.’
    • ‘In the old cages, animals injured themselves while on the move, wildlife authorities acknowledge.’
    • ‘Carry-bags and bottles, which are discarded on the premises after use, find their way to the vicinity of animal cages and enclosures.’
    • ‘One of them had been partitioned with a sheet of corrugated plastic separating two caged birds into even smaller cages.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And any animal that lives in a cage, from birds to gerbils, will produce droppings that can attract mold and dust.’
    • ‘Animals remain locked in cages from closing time at 5 p.m. until 8 the next morning.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But I felt sad for the animals because their cages are so small.’
    • ‘What about keeping animals and birds in cages - that has to be cruel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Quite impressed with their reverence, she walked over to the cage and placed her birds in the cage with them.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Birds chirped in cages hanging by the front doors of houses.’
    enclosure, pen, pound
    coop, hutch, crate
    birdcage, aviary, mew
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A prison cell or camp.
      • ‘The cages and guardhouse all suggested close surveillance of the bunker and its contents.’
      • ‘Handcuffed or in cages, people convicted of no crime are transported to and from these centres in high-security vehicles.’
      • ‘Such demands would only mean substituting many small cages for one central prison.’
      • ‘The shutters of derelict buildings creaked and groaned like mall nourished prisoners in cages as he passed them.’
      • ‘Irony drips as the lover's bed is transformed into a prison cage and back again.’
      • ‘Green uniformed prisoners paced bare concrete cages with not a blade of grass or a single ornament in sight.’
      • ‘She'd awakened in a cell - a cage - her clothes gone, a blanket by her side.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The so-called exercise yards consist of 25 x 18 foot cages, with prisoners only allowed to exercise alone, wearing manacles.’
      • ‘Angel and Lucius meet for an hour a day for exercise in a cage on the prison roof.’
      • ‘The camp consists of small cages with chain-link sides, no bathrooms, concrete floors and metal roofs.’
      • ‘As his vision spanned across the Prison, he saw cages that could hardly fit a small bed, side by side.’
      • ‘They ran towards the voice and into a room where four cages held four prisoners.’
      • ‘The horses were fed and watered as the guard who stopped them dragged me from the cage and towards a cell.’
      • ‘Inside the cages, the prisoners remain manacled.’
      • ‘He first worked as a translator in the prisoners' cages.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then he made him limp into a prison cage and locked him in.’
      • ‘He looked around and saw that he was in a cell, a cage.’
      • ‘The guards ran to the cages where the prisoner brawls disturbed the whole dungeon.’
      snare, net
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2An open framework forming the compartment in an elevator.
      • ‘When I arrived at the southern rim, the rescuers were all standing silent watching one of these cages being lifted out of the ruins.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The elevator uses no cables and is propelled by a system comprising of stators along the shaft and translators on the elevator cage.’
      • ‘The wind flowed from the respective blower is bypassed the illuminators, thereby entering into the inside of the elevator cage.’
    3. 1.3A structure of crossing bars or wires designed to hold or support something.
      • ‘We drilled into several terrace units, and measured the actual depth of the concrete covering the reinforcement cages.’
      • ‘Jeff's original design used commercial tomato cages, with one pepper plant per cage.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Support your plants with cages, stakes, or trellises.’
      • ‘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.’
    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To the right is the batting-practice cage, where we lean the costumes upside-down.’
      • ‘Dad had placed us directly behind the home plate cage to avoid having any random balls flying at us.’
    5. 1.5(in hockey and other games) a goal made from a network frame.
      • ‘A prominent measure of both victorious projects was the removal of the ‘soccer cage’ as an enclosure traditionally dominated by boys and male teenagers.’
      • ‘I broke a goalie's cage with my wrist shot.’
      • ‘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.’
    6. 1.6An indoor athletic facility with areas fenced off for security.
      • ‘Reflecting on the enthusiasm in high offices for university extravaganzas, Charlie wonders about the proposed multi-million dollar athletic cage.’
      • ‘Once the game begins, he will watch a few innings, then go to an indoor cage.’
      • ‘He lost 11 pounds during spring training and figures most of it came off when he worked in hot indoor cages.’
      • ‘You can imagine how useful such a flag can be when you want to cheer up a drab corner of the campus or decorate a really big space like an auditorium or athletic cage.’
      • ‘Then, it's through the dugout, up a tunnel, down a hall and into an indoor cage.’


  • 1 Confine in or as in a cage.

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


Middle English: via Old French from Latin cavea.