at the mercy of somebody/something

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at the mercy of someone

 and at someone's mercy
Fig. under the control of someone; without defense against someone. We were left at the mercy of the arresting officer. Mrs. Franklin wanted Mr. Franklin at her mercy.
See also: mercy, of
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

at the mercy of

1. Also, at someone's mercy. Subject to the power of, helpless against, as in The captured rebels were at the mercy of the army commander. [Late 1500s]
2. Without any protection against, as in On top of Mount Washington we were at the mercy of the elements. [Late 1600s]
See also: mercy, of
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

(be) at the mercy of somebody/something

not be able to stop somebody/something harming you because they have power or control over you: Small businesses are completely at the mercy of the banks these days.The little ship was at the mercy of the storm.
See also: mercy, of, somebody, something
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

at the mercy of

Without any protection against; helpless before: drifting in an open boat, at the mercy of the elements.
See also: mercy, of
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"Ultimately, if we can use our own UK indigenous resources then we are not at the mercy of somebody else who decides to create a world shortage."