be left to (one's) own devices(redirected from one was left up to one's 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!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
left to one's own devices, to be
To be allowed to do as one pleases; to be left alone. The word devices in this meaning—projects or stratagems— survives mainly in this cliché, which dates from the late nineteenth century. It also appears in a phrase still used from the 1552 Anglican Book of Common Prayer: “We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer