get (one's) hands dirty

(redirected from getting their hands dirty)

get (one's) hands dirty

1. To do hard work, often manual labor. There is nothing more rewarding to me than getting my hands dirty in my garden. I really appreciate you guys getting your hands dirty and helping us move.
2. To be involved in something illegal or unseemly. Uncle Pete has been avoiding us ever since we discovered that he gets his hands dirty working for the mob. No one can know about my police record—I don't want people to think that I still get my hands dirty.
See also: dirty, get, 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.

get your hands dirty

COMMON If you get your hands dirty, you do difficult, dirty or routine work. I never get my hands dirty raising money the hard way. The guys at the top make all the money, while the people actually getting their hands dirty make very little. Compare with not dirty your hands.
See also: dirty, get, hand
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

get your hands dirty (or dirty your hands)

1 do manual, menial, or other hard work. 2 become directly involved in dishonest or dishonourable activity. informal
1 1998 Spectator Unlike its sister churches in the West, the Catholic Church in the Philippines is not afraid to get its hands dirty.
See also: dirty, get, hand
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

get your ˈhands dirty

do physical work: He’s not frightened of getting his hands dirty.
See also: dirty, get, hand
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Summary: Amravati (Maharashtra) [India], August 1 (ANI): While it is very common for lawmakers to listen to woes of citizens from their constituency and direct concerned official, it isn't very often for them to be seen getting their hands dirty to resolve such issues.
The Wee-Bees are looking forward to getting their hands dirty and growing fruits and vegetables when spring starts.
Would the celebrities (and that bloke with the ridiculous accent off Made In Chelsea) really be getting their hands dirty with street policing?
A group of students, across all key stages at the largest specialist school in Liverpool, have been getting their hands dirty at the farm and taken on a range of responsibilities such as turning over the ground ready for spring, cleaning and also feeding animals such as the pigs, chickens and ducks.
As to "never getting their hands dirty" I have got my hands dirty all my working life, in the army, police and fire service and latterly as senior curator at the Council House.
CHILDREN are getting their hands dirty to help bring colour to their community.
How often do people turn the other way when perhaps they should be getting their hands dirty? Mr Mallon has set a fine example - get involved, stand up for what is good and right and make this world a much better place.
Pegging these and other friendly bacteria might let researchers get at the goods without getting their hands dirty.
BLUE Peter gardener Chris Collins is ramping up his mission to get children excited about getting their hands dirty with a brand new range of gardening kits.
A team of apprentices and trainees from construction firm Mansell have been getting their hands dirty cleaning up a school pond.
Four to 12-year-olds have been letting their imaginations run wild with mythical map making, designing fantasy creatures, having a go at a bit of hocus pocus and getting their hands dirty at the green balloon club!
Researchers found many dads spent less than an hour with their kids each day - and want to play instead of getting their hands dirty.
I hope that you focus on people who are really "getting their hands dirty" (figuratively speaking.) Those are the people who create change, not the academics and politicians who just theorize about it while contemplating their navels (or their votes.) People like Tina are great role models for us all.
It was once the refuge of high school students who weren't headed to college; for the kids who didn't excel at academics or preferred getting their hands dirty. Now, officially, it's career and technical education, or CTE.
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