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  1. Newbie
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Apr 2012
    • Posts: 1

    Is this idiom correct?

    Hello everyone! I need some help with this idiom as I am not sure if it is correct.

    A bird in a gilded cage is still not free.

    I want to get it as a tattoo, but of course I want to make sure it makes sense. I have wanted to get a tattoo for many years, but I never felt like I had the right image or phrase for one, until now. I think it might be helpful for others to understand why this phrase resonates with me, so here is some more info.

    I am a 24 year old Canadian female who wants nothing more than to travel the world. After returning from a year abroad in South Korea, I realized I wasn't ready to settle down. I told my very traditional parents this, and they pretty much told me that I should instead focus on getting a good paying job (even if I hate it) so I can buy a house and get a nicer car (basically acquire more material wealth). I think that would be fine if I wanted those things, but I don't.

    I don't think the above is a common idiom, but a variation on the idioms a gilded cage is still a cage and a bird in a gilded cage.

    Please let me know if it is correct. Also, variations on the phrase are very welcome!

    I was toying with the idea of a bird in a gilded cage is still trapped, but it doesn't roll off the tongue that well.

    Thanks for reading :)

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,269

    Re: Is this idiom correct?

    It's rather long for a tattoo. "A gilded cage is still a prison" is a little shorter. Even so, I would suggest you talk to a lot of people already wearing ink for their view on such a long phrase. I think there's a reason most tattoo that consist of words are single words: Mom, or a child's name. All I can say is, it hurt so much more than I had expected it to, but once the first dot is in, you're committed.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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