be left to (one's) own devices

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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!
See also: device, left, own
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: device, left, own
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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References in periodicals archive ?
Left to our own devices, we'd eavesdrop on conversations around the
What you seem to forget here is that the human being is the dumbest creature on the planet as we have to learn everything we do, if we were left to our own devices we'd soon be extinct.
can via email We have no foot patrols all day (PCSOs do not count), and during the night we are left to our own devices with no police presence at all.
"We've been left to our own devices but we are now happy family.
Left to our own devices there, we would have died," she says.
In these pages (University Business, February 2004), Kirp suggested that to galvanize the dialogue "higher education needs its own Arnold Schwarzenegger." Could he mean that, left to our own devices, we will merely grope for solutions?
In my first year at Munich we were left to our own devices from the middle of December to early January and I thought it was brilliant.
Trains stop at Milton Keynes so we would then be bussed to the nearest railway station (Wa tford?) where we would be left to our own devices to catchaconnecting train to London.
Left to our own devices, we engineers will just build a thousand story building, even though they only want 10 stories.
Left to our own devices, it is perhaps most disturbing to imagine the tragic details ourselves.