dirty (one's) hands

(redirected from dirty their hands)

dirty (one's) hands

1. To partake in especially underhanded, illicit, or illegal work or activities. The public can't be allowed to think that I, a senate hopeful, would ever dirty my hands with a tax-evasion scheme such as that.
2. To do hard work, often manual labor. There is nothing more rewarding to me than dirtying my hands in my garden.
See also: dirty, hand

get one's hands dirty and dirty one's hands; soil one's hands

1. Fig. to get closely involved in a difficult task. You have to get your hands dirty if you expect to get the gutters cleaned out.
2. Fig. to become involved with something illegal; to do a shameful thing; to do something that is beneath one. The mayor would never get his hands dirty by giving away political favors. I will not dirty my hands by breaking the law.
See also: and, dirty, get, hand, soil

dirty one's hands

Also, get one's hands dirty or soil one's hands. Do something shameful or illegal. For example, He refused to dirty his hands and give jobs to the big campaign donors, or Getting one's hands dirty by lying to the boss will be severely punished, or She would not soil her hands by cheating. This expression is a metaphor for literally defiling or soiling oneself. [Mid-1600s]
See also: dirty, hand
References in periodicals archive ?
To start with, this lot seldom dirty their hands, outsourcing the job of breaking laws to others, who oblige for fear or favour.
THE FAct they didn't at that critical low point suggests they still don't want dirty their hands, or that they had faith their man would turn things around.
com)-- With Laos' background in sustainable tourism, Kamu Lodge greets the month of October with a new exciting package inviting its guests to roll up their sleeves, dirty their hands and feet a little bit and plough the land with the lodge's resident buffalo.
THOSE who dirty their hands lead a wretched life full of massive social discrimination.
67) At the same time, however, gardening was inherently a messy business in which all participants were prone to dirty their hands and transgress social boundaries.
They refused to play with her, saying her dark skin would dirty their hands.
Even the aristocracy who never had to dirty their hands, would have been in tune with where there food was coming from.
He said that France is standing alone on the front line, asking sarcastically "Why do the Americans have to dirty their hands when a fool is there to do the dirty acts on their behalf.
They go on to university and get jobs that don't dirty their hands.
Council workers, now called officers, don't dirty their hands these days.
They were invited to try out a "glow bug" machine, which shows them exactly how dirty their hands actually are.
But instead their kids and their wives have all been told they can come and live here in houses that most Brits earning a decent wage couldn't afford, and all without ever having to dirty their hands with work.
Politicians, councillors and well-organised bureaucrats sit in their glass and concrete offices full of their own importance who never dirty their hands but discussing their inability to manage their meagre expenses.
The addition of composted biosolids rich in iron, manganese, and organic matter to a lead-contaminated home garden in Baltimore appears to bind the lead, according to a study published in the January/February 2003 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality As a result, the lead is less likely to be absorbed into the bloodstreams of children who dirty their hands playing outside or are tempted to taste mud pies they have "baked" in the backyard.
But the complacent self- perpetuating elite who run the General Medical Council don't dirty their hands with things like that.