dirty (one's) hands

(redirected from dirty his 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
In the picture Boyega shared on (https://www.instagram.com/p/Bsq7mwVFQ5-/) Instagram , the actor showed just how dirty his hands got after filming a scene.
He said Ron shouldn't 'dirty his hands' with this one and that he and brother Chris would take care of it up in Birmingham.
Scappaticci was also to claim in the programme that Mr McGuinness wouldn't "dirty his hands" by participating in the murder of IRA man Frank Hegarty in 1986.
Why should Sandy Javier, who started the very successful Andok's lechon manok chain, dirty his hands for a paltry sum?
While Slaven Bilic looked like an eager man of action, keen to dirty his hands along with his players, McClaren resembled a bank manager.
Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink may be a lethal pounds 3.5million marksman with some of the classiest touches at the club but he's not afraid to dirty his hands and take the bruises which come from dealing with the physical side of defenders.
Whether he was overruling advisers who wanted a stronger stance against French withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), deeply involving himself in arms limitations talks, or finding Cuban influence in the Dominican Revolution, the Lyndon Johnson that emerges in Beyond Vietnam was a man who not only chose his own policies but also was unafraid to dirty his hands in their implementation.
This means offering him such a world-class job that he would never want to dirty his hands at Westminster again, spreading dangerous ideas that would force the Tories to fight on the same centre ground as Labour.
DAVID CAMERON Not that he'd ever dirty his hands by touching one of us plebs, but even in theory - NO.
"He knows what it's like to dirty his hands at the coal face and has a great track record for developing youngsters.
He wouldn't want to dirty his hands meeting ordinary folk, would he?
AFTER watching the London Marathon and seeing the thousands of people running to raise money for worthy causes, I began to wonder if the donations they make to all the different charities will be tax exempt or will the Chancellor try to claim his share and dirty his hands even further?
It has been some time since Hoddle had to dirty his hands in the Football League but Wolves offer him a fresh start and a good opportunity.
But in public, at least, he has failed to dirty his hands with the issue that has shamed soccer.