leave (one) to (someone's) tender mercies

leave (one) to (someone's) tender mercies

To allow someone to face the punishment or rebukes of another person who will not show them any mercy, kindness, or sympathy. The phrase is used ironically. I thought it would be best if I spoke to her, rather than leaving her to the principal's tender mercies. I don't have time to deal with this. I'll just leave them to Mairead's tender mercies.
See also: leave, mercy, tender

leave to someone's tender mercies

Submit to another's power or discretion, especially to an unsympathetic individual. Today this expression is always used ironically, as in We left him to the tender mercies of that stiff-necked, arrogant nurse. It alludes to a biblical passage (Proverbs 12:10): "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."
See also: leave, mercy, tender