\ 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

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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 Bridges and Fick both worked to promote Fern — who wasn’t doing herself any favors by huddling in her cage at the pet store, hiding from potential parents. Sarah Ravits,, "Star-crossed cats: A shy, cross-eyed kitten finds a forever home — and a soulmate," 14 Dec. 2020 And while there’s no definitive research about blue jay intelligence, one study showed a captive blue jay trying to snag food that was out of reach with paper scraps that lined its cage. René A. Guzman,, "San Antonio’s blue jay birds have a bold color and a brash bird call to match their attitude," 10 Nov. 2020 Miami hit Flacco early and often (three sacks), and rattling his cage made the 13-year veteran quick on the trigger to avoid getting hit. Omar Kelly,, "Grades and stock up, stock down for Dolphins' win over Jets," 19 Oct. 2020 They were joined by a number of dogs of all sizes and one hamster, who safely burrowed inside his cage. Carol Kovach, cleveland, "Annual animal blessing draws masked, socially distanced group to St. Bridget of Kildare in Parma: Sun Postings," 5 Oct. 2020 In each show, a fearless traveler shares his or her adrenaline-pumping escapade, such as a 5,000-mile expedition through the Middle East, great white shark cage diving in Australia and a rickshaw race across India. Washington Post, "With travel podcasts, explore the world through your ear buds," 11 Dec. 2020 Since May, when he and 11 other chimps were retired from the Buckshire Corp., a research center in Pennsylvania, Oliver has shared a spacious open-air cage with other chimps at Primarily Primates. John Maccormack,, "Oliver with a twist - Retired freak show chimp still scientific mystery," 9 Dec. 2020 Others huddled together in the corner of the cage, shivering and hunched over. Amanda Morris, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona company tests possible short-term COVID-19 vaccine alternative," 5 Dec. 2020 Right by the goal line, Mayer, who was left wide open, made sure the ball found the back of the cage with a tip and the celebration ensued on the field. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Sacred Heart field hockey edges CAL in overtime to win 2020 state championship," 13 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In July, climbers cage the cones of those trees to foil the Clark’s nutcracker. Jim Morrison, Wired, "A Bold Plan to Save the Last Whitebark Pines," 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, "How ‘America First’ Became America Alone," 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, "Tiger search underway after sighting in Tennessee industrial park," 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, "How Trump and Xi set the stage for the coronavirus pandemic," 2 Apr. 2020 Only my annual, heartbreaking attempt to cage my berries from the birds vexes me more. Charlotte Mendelson, The New Yorker, "It’s Time to Grow Your Own Beans," 24 Apr. 2020 No individuals or families should continue to be caged as the pandemic spreads. Alina Das, Quartz, "Why ICE’s coronavirus response is so dangerous," 25 Mar. 2020 In some instances, the actual algorithms used to determine who is free and who is caged are proprietary, and defendants have no way to access or challenge the black box computations that determine their fate. Nick Pinto, The New Republic, "Criminal justice reformers are rethinking the crusade against cash bail.," 6 Apr. 2020 The dog jumped into the seat after the officer tried to coax him into the back of the vehicle, which was caged. Kristin Lam, USA TODAY, "How a stray dog got the best of a Texas police officer (and ate his beef jerky, too)," 16 June 2019

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) 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

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Time Traveler for cage

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for cage

Last Updated

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for cage


How to pronounce Cage (audio)

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

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