dirty (one's) hands

(redirected from dirtying our 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 ?
If some countries would feel the discomfort from the humanitarian situation due to al-Assad's massacres and wish to wash their hands at the expense of dirtying our hands with a humiliating position, you will hear us say no five times rather than three.
This generation may be lost, but only by dirtying our hands and getting down to the nitty-gritty of lining up with the country's working stiffs will there be any hope for the future.
And so he has regularly resolved his novels by pointing to their contrivance, by identifying the reader's complicity in his fictions, and by directing us to act upon this complicity by dirtying our hands in whatever work we can do.