\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cage


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

Examples of cage in a Sentence


the dogs and cats at the animal shelter looked so sad in their cages


caged the rabbit at night so she wouldn't wake everyone up

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Remember that time your boss tore babies from their mothers’ arms and threw them in cages? Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Sen. Kamala Harris Defends Pelosi Amid Tensions With 'The Squad'," 12 July 2019 Some are out in the open, such as threatening mass deportations, holding migrant children in cages and flouting the Supreme Court’s decision to not include a question about citizenship on the upcoming census. Esther J. Cepeda, The Mercury News, "Cepeda: New ICE plan threatens immigrants and communities," 11 July 2019 Many of the dogs that died were living inside the building and were in cages. Clifford Ward,, "Animal cruelty charges filed in fire that killed about 30 dogs at kennel near West Chicago," 11 July 2019 Remember that time your boss tore babies from their mothers’ arms and threw them in cages? Globe Staff,, "Ayanna Pressley calls out Kellyanne Conway for Democratic ‘catfight’ comment," 9 July 2019 At least 15 cats — many of which were in cages — were dead or had to be euthanized, authorities said. Alex Wigglesworth,, "Alerted by odor, deputies find 78 cats inside home and arrest owner, authorities say," 2 July 2019 The quality and the pacing vary—and the political satire, especially, walks a tricky line, as with an ad for ICE that boasts free-range children instead of ones in cages. Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, "Off-Kilter Humor on “Los Espookys” and “Alternatino”," 1 July 2019 At the time, images of migrant children in cages incited public outrage. Michael D. Shear, New York Times, "Photo of Migrants Shocks, but Congress Stalls on Border Aid," 26 June 2019 Pigs raced on a race course of their own, ponies carried toddlers around a small ring, a boa constrictor slithered in a cage and 400 butterflies fluttered inside a giant tent. Steve Rubenstein,, "Horse-racing diehards at Pleasanton track concede sport needs to be made safe in wake of new law," 27 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Washington Post described a scene where nearly 400 men were packed behind caged fences in sweltering heat and virtually no space for anyone to lie down on the concrete floor. Lisa Donovan,, "On ‘Face the Nation,’ Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin discusses fear in Latino community over planned immigration raids, Trump tweets," 14 July 2019 The Humane Society of the United States estimates that there are 5,000 to 7,000 caged tigers in this country., "The trouble with tigers in America," 13 July 2019 However, at the second facility Pence visited there were about 400 men caged in a dirty, sweltering room . San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rep. Peters visits Texas-Mexico border, describes poor conditions and room for government action," 13 July 2019 People are being caged, sleeping on the ground, freezing, contained in crowded spaces. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The “concentration camp” language debate is the wrong fight," 13 July 2019 In 2012, wildlife officers raided Sipek’s compound and seized a trio of big cats from the property, citing caging violations. Susannah Bryan,, "Steve Sipek, owner of Bobo the slain tiger, dies at 77," 25 June 2019 Addition Elle announced a partnership with Aldo aimed specifically at plus-size consumers looking for strappy sandals, caged heels, ankle boots, and cross-body bags that actually fit. Glamour, "This New Aldo Shoe Collection Is Specifically for Plus-Size Shoppers," 26 Mar. 2019 Five Louisiana residents face federal charges for allegedly caging and abusing an autistic woman, two years after they were arrested on state charges in the case. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Autistic woman was allegedly caged and forced to eat her dead mother's ashes; 5 face federal charges," 28 July 2018 Texas is 39 percent Hispanic and has become the epicenter of the debate, with a former warehouse fitted with metal caging in the Rio Grande Valley housing more than 1,000 immigrant children. Will Weissert,, "Ted Cruz’s flip-flop on family separation shows threat to GOP," 19 June 2018

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.

See More

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) though what the meaning of such a word would be is unclear, as cavea denotes an enclosure rather than a cavity in something larger; note that -eus is normally a denominal suffix meaning "made of" (see -eous). Perhaps of relevance is the suffix of alveus "trough, hull, channel" (see alveolus).


derivative of cage entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cage

Statistics for cage

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cage

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cage



Financial Definition of cage

What It Is

A cage is a department in a brokerage firm.

How It Works

The cage is a physical location in which people at a brokerage firm handle physical securities and certificates. The location is called a cage because it usually has bars or other barriers to prevent other people from entering and exiting, and it usually has a vault.

Why It Matters

The cage is a crucial part of any brokerage firm's operations because it ensures that clients' physical certificates are kept safe and sound, and that the right securities are exchanged in transactions.

Source: Investing Answers



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.

Keep scrolling for more


\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cage

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cage

Spanish Central: Translation of cage

Nglish: Translation of cage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cage for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cage

What made you want to look up cage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!