dirty one's hands

(redirected from get one's hands dirty)

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 ?
The philosopher Michael Walzer puts it well: "It is easy to get one's hands dirty in politics.