dirty (one's) hands

(redirected from dirtying 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. © 2015 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 ?
This new leader was to create a new situation for the land without dirtying his hands by the positions and practices that brought about the changes.
Mild-mannered Will, irrational at that moment, welcomes the thought of someone else dirtying his hands with the kind of violence which he would like to do but is restrained by his nature and social upbringing.
The origins of Hitler's inexhaustible popularity is a theme running throughout Nemesis, and here Kershaw builds upon his pioneering work on the "Hitler Myth." The Fuhrer's reputation rested, to a large extent, upon his ability to remain above the fray and to avoid dirtying his hands with the day-to-day affairs of state.
This does not automatically imply that the composer was reluctant to publish his music, but that he could not be seen "dirtying his hands," as it were, with a mere commercial venture.
And he is adamant that he won't be dirtying his hands with the new single currency in the New Year.
Dirtying his hands eliminates executive/employee barriers.
Murray is a multi-millionaire businessman with a private jet and an album full of photographs with his movie star mate Sean Connery but when he wants something badly enough he doesn't mind dirtying his hands with hard work.