Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
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!
leave (one) to (one's) own devices
To let one rely on oneself, without any help or other interference. I'm going to leave you to your own devices and see what you come up with without my input. It's amazing how some kids can really thrive when you leave them to their own devices, while others will be completely helpless.
leave one to one's own devicesand leave one to one's own resources
Fig. to make one rely on oneself.—I am sure that she will manage if we leave her to her own devices. I will leave her to her own resources and everything will turn out fine.
leave to someone's own devices
Allow someone to do as he or she wishes. For example, Left to his own devices, he would hire someone to do the yard work. This expression, uses device in the sense of "a plan or scheme." [Late 1800s]
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.
leave someone to their own devicesleave someone to do as they wish without supervision.
Device in the sense of ‘inclination’ or ‘fancy’ now only occurs in the plural, and is found only in this expression or in the phrase devices and desires , as quoted from the General Confession in the Book of Common Prayer.
leave somebody to their own deˈvicesleave somebody to do something without your help, or to spend their time as they like: I’ve explained everything to him. Now I’m leaving him to his own devices, and we’ll see how he manages. ♢ The children were usually left to their own devices in the summer holidays.
leave to (one's) own devices
1. To allow (someone) to do as he or she pleases: left the child to her own devices for an hour.
2. To force (someone) to cope or manage without assistance: Most people would die in the desert if left to their own devices.