leave somebody/something to the mercy/mercies of somebody/something

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leave (someone) to the mercy/mercies of (someone or something)

To allow someone to face the punishment or rebukes of something or someone who will not show them any mercy, kindness, or sympathy. I thought it would be best if I spoke to her, rather than leaving her to the mercy of the principal.
See also: leave, mercy, of

leave somebody/something to the mercy/mercies of somebody/something

leave somebody/something in a situation that may cause them to suffer or to be treated badly: The soldiers had no choice but to run across open fields, which left them to the mercy of enemy gunners.
References in periodicals archive ?
The impact of toilet closures on visitors and tourists, public health and the needs of disabled people, young children and babies means it is just too important to leave to the mercies of a cost cutting council.