be left to (one's) own devices

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be left to (one's) own devices

To be left unsupervised or uncontrolled; to be allowed to do as one pleases. My job is really great: I know what I need to work on and am just left to my own devices. If left to their own devices, children will get into all sorts of mischief!
See also: device, left, own
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

left to your own devices

COMMON If someone is left to their own devices, they are left to do what they want, or to look after themselves without any help. If left to my own devices, I would eat a chocolate dessert every night. After tea we were left to our own devices, so we decided to take a walk in the neighbouring village. The millions of Americans who do not have health insurance are often left to their own devices when they become ill. Note: An old meaning of `device' was desire or will.
See also: device, left, own
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
See also:
References in classic literature ?
The warrior whose gun I had struck up looked enquiringly at Tars Tarkas, but the latter signed that I be left to my own devices, and so we returned to the plaza with my great beast following close at heel, and Sola grasping me tightly by the arm.
So I was left to my own devices, and soon found a comfortable seat, at the foot of a tree, from which I had a good view of the ruins.
During the remainder of that day of festal sadness, I was left to my own devices. Being too much unhinged for any steady occupation, I wandered about with a book in my hand for several hours, more thinking than reading, for I had many things to think about.
Then silence fell, and I was left to my own devices for getting free.
"This is the music I make when left to my own devices."
The singer said: "Left to my own devices, I'm inclined to sabotage everything.
"Left to my own devices I probably would have been dead several times over," Tyler added.
A car crash left me with a right knee that will not bend, so left to my own devices I book seats which leave me able to park my right foot partly in an aisle.
"Left to my own devices, no one [in my books] would actually do anything.
(Comments Dendy: "I once had a teacher who said that if I was left to my own devices I'd put the whole world on a stage, and that's what I did with Symmetries.")