be at the mercy of (something)

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be at the mercy of (something)

To be subject to the control of a particular person or thing. When you're a minor, you're at the mercy of your parents completely. When you travel by public transportation, you're at the mercy of the weather. Her fate is at the mercy of the jury—it's their decision now.
See also: mercy, of
References in classic literature ?
You delude me with a false assent, and then I am at the mercy of your devices.
when I am at the mercy of every scribbler in the Palais Royal who covers waste paper with nonsense, or of every country squire in the kingdom.
I am a radiologist, however, and work indoors, and I am at the mercy of the heating and cooling gods.
Through this piece I have sometimes felt that woven into the creation is the discovery of absolute unconditional love I have for my son, and an explanation to my partner that I am at the mercy of that.
Unless I get a job closer to home or resign myself to using my lunch break to go to a service center 25 minutes away, I am at the mercy of the credit union's less-than-user-friendly online banking system--at least until my debit card arrives in the mail.
As a chicken farmer I am at the mercy of the wheat market--65% of my chickens' diet is wheat, but no one seems to care about my cost increases.
But the key to the slower lifestyle is management: At home I can prioritize and simplify, but at work or on the freeway I am at the mercy of forces beyond my control.
My inabilities in the world of DIY stretch to such a broad range of activities that I am at the mercy of workmen everywhere.