See more synonyms for cage on
  1. a boxlike enclosure having wires, bars, or the like, for confining and displaying birds or animals.
  2. anything that confines or imprisons; prison.
  3. something resembling a cage in structure, as for a cashier or bank teller.
  4. the car or enclosed platform of an elevator.
  5. Mining. an enclosed platform for raising and lowering people and cars in a mine shaft.
  6. any skeleton framework.
  7. Baseball. a movable backstop for use mainly in batting practice.
  8. a frame with a net attached to it, forming the goal in ice hockey and field hockey.
  9. Basketball Older Use. the basket.
  10. a loose, sheer or lacy overdress worn with a slip or a close-fitting dress.
  11. Ordnance. a steel framework for supporting guns.
  12. Machinery. retainer1(def 3).
verb (used with object), caged, cag·ing.
  1. to put or confine in or as if in a cage.
  2. Sports. to shoot (as a puck) into a cage so as to score a goal.

Origin of cage

1175–1225; Middle English < Old French < Latin cavea birdcage, equivalent to cav(us) hollow + -ea, feminine of -eus adj. suffix
Related formscage·less, adjectivecage·like, adjectivere·cage, verb (used with object), re·caged, re·cag·ing.

Synonyms for cage

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  1. John,1912–1992, U.S. composer. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cage

Contemporary Examples of cage

Historical Examples of cage

  • After the incident of the birds and cage, my sagacity was for some time at fault.

  • Stevie prowled round the table like an excited animal in a cage.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • I opened the door of his cage and, snatching the puppy, fled.

    A Woman Tenderfoot

    Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

  • Squirrels shouldn't swim, and if I can catch it I will put it in a cage.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • He paced the chamber like a beast in a cage, hissing out the words in his anger.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

British Dictionary definitions for cage


    1. an enclosure, usually made with bars or wire, for keeping birds, monkeys, mice, etc
    2. (as modifier)cagebird
  1. a thing or place that confines or imprisons
  2. something resembling a cage in function or structurethe rib cage
  3. the enclosed platform of a lift, esp as used in a mine
  4. engineering a skeleton ring device that ensures that the correct amount of space is maintained between the individual rollers or balls in a rolling bearing
  5. informal the basket used in basketball
  6. informal the goal in ice hockey
  7. US a steel framework on which guns are supported
  8. rattle someone's cage informal to upset or anger someone
  1. (tr) to confine in or as in a cage

Word Origin for cage

C13: from Old French, from Latin cavea enclosure, from cavus hollow


  1. John. 1912–92, US composer of experimental music for a variety of conventional, modified, or invented instruments. He evolved a type of music apparently undetermined by the composer, such as in Imaginary Landscape (1951) for 12 radio sets. Other works include Reunion (1968), Apartment Building 1776 (1976), and Europeras 3 and 4 (1990)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cage

early 13c., from Old French cage "cage, prison; retreat, hideout" (12c.), from Latin cavea "hollow place, enclosure for animals, coop, hive, stall, dungeon, spectators' seats in the theater" (cf. Italian gabbia "basket for fowls, coop;" see cave (n.)).


1570s, from cage (n.). Related: Caged; caging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper