\ ˈkāj How to pronounce cage (audio) \

Definition of cage

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a box or enclosure having some openwork for confining or carrying animals (such as birds)
2a : a barred cell for confining prisoners
b : a fenced area for prisoners of war
3 : a framework serving as support the steel cage of a skyscraper
4a : an enclosure resembling a cage in form or purpose a cashier's cage
b : an arrangement of atoms or molecules so bonded as to enclose a space in which another atom or ion (as of a metal) can reside
b : a goal consisting of posts or a frame with a net attached (as in ice hockey)
6 : a large building containing an area for practicing outdoor sports and often adapted for indoor events


caged; caging

Definition of cage (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to confine or keep in or as if in a cage
2 : to drive (a puck, a shot, etc.) into a cage and score a goal


biographical name
\ ˈkāj How to pronounce Cage (audio) \

Definition of Cage (Entry 3 of 3)

John Milton 1912–1992 American composer

Other Words from cage


cageful \ ˈkāj-​ˌfu̇l How to pronounce Cage (audio) \ noun

Examples of cage in a Sentence

Noun the dogs and cats at the animal shelter looked so sad in their cages Verb caged the rabbit at night so she wouldn't wake everyone up
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Both servings are said to be made with cage-free eggs. Michele Herrmann, Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 Some of the minimum housing space requirements for hens and calves went into effect January 1, 2020, with the second batch of regulations — notably calling for cage-free hens and crate-free hogs — slated for the first of next year. Alicia Wallace, CNN, 17 Oct. 2021 Saint Mary’s shoved Notre Dame to the consolation bracket of the Maui Invitational, winning 62-59 in a college basketball game that was equal parts chess match and cage match late Monday night. David Woods, The Indianapolis Star, 24 Nov. 2021 That cage match was never going to end well for the WWE star. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 2 Nov. 2021 Boone is no stranger to the fury and the folklore of this steel-cage match., 6 Oct. 2021 That’s the beginning of the end for the kayfabe and the cage match tonight. Kimberly Potts, Vulture, 12 Sep. 2021 In a curious quirk of history, a modern democracy fought modern authoritarianism in a gilded cage match of art borrowed mainly from the aristocratic culture of bygone Europe. Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2021 Indeed, one of the most entertaining sideshows in the nation’s capital since January has been the steel cage match between Harris and her rival within the cabinet, Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 7 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Adetiba says the successful outing taught her not to cage her audience. Anita Patrick, CNN, 16 Aug. 2021 Securities regulators are trying to cage Elon Musk’s tweets. Francesca Fontana, WSJ, 4 June 2021 In July, climbers cage the cones of those trees to foil the Clark’s nutcracker. Jim Morrison, Wired, 24 Dec. 2020 Trump’s instinctive unilateralism, his belief that international institutions cage the U.S. rather than project its power, forced other nations to change their calculations about dealing with Washington. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, 29 Oct. 2020 Mary Lynn Parker of Tiger Haven told Knox News her shelter has been helping with the search and that a trap has been set in an attempt to cage the feline. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, 10 Sep. 2020 Somehow—possibly inside Wuhan’s Hua’nan live animal market—a bat’s urine or saliva passed to some other caged beast, infecting that animal. Laurie Garrett, The New Republic, 2 Apr. 2020 Only my annual, heartbreaking attempt to cage my berries from the birds vexes me more. Charlotte Mendelson, The New Yorker, 24 Apr. 2020 No individuals or families should continue to be caged as the pandemic spreads. Alina Das, Quartz, 25 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cage


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cage


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin cavea "enclosure for poultry, cage, auditorium of a theater," of uncertain origin

Note: Latin cavea is usually taken to be a noun derivative of an unattested adjective *caveus, from cavus "hollow, concave" (see cave entry 1, hole entry 1), the sense "something hollow, cavity" being extended to "enclosed space" and then "enclosure"; however, -eus is normally a denominal suffix meaning "made of" (see -eous), so that the resulting sense of the derivative is not clear. Perhaps of relevance is the suffix of alveus "trough, hull, channel" (see alveolus).


derivative of cage entry 1

Learn More About cage

Time Traveler for cage

Time Traveler

The first known use of cage was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near cage

Cagayan de Oro



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Statistics for cage

Last Updated

9 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for cage



English Language Learners Definition of cage

: a box made of wire or metal bars in which people keep animals or birds


\ ˈkāj How to pronounce cage (audio) \

Kids Definition of cage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a box or enclosure that has large openings covered usually with wire net or bars and is used for keeping birds or animals a hamster cage
2 : an enclosure like a cage in shape or purpose a bank teller's cage


caged; caging

Kids Definition of cage (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put or keep in or as if in a cage She caged the birds together.


\ ˈkāj How to pronounce cage (audio) \

Medical Definition of cage

: an arrangement of atoms or molecules so bonded as to enclose a space in which another atom or ion (as of a metal) can reside

More from Merriam-Webster on cage

Nglish: Translation of cage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cage for Arabic Speakers


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