sully (one's) hands

(redirected from sullied their hands)

sully (one's) hands

To partake in particularly underhanded, illicit, or illegal work or activities. The public can't be allowed to think that I, a senate hopeful, would ever sully my hands with a tax-evasion scheme such as that.
See also: hand, sully

sully your hands

FORMAL
If someone sullies their hands by doing something, they do something unpleasant or wrong. He had no intention of sullying his hands by playing politics. He would not sully his hands in trade. Note: To sully something means to stain it.
See also: hand, sully
References in periodicals archive ?
It is on record, that in the United States, who were avowedly antiwar for so long, at least 21,000 millionaires or even billionaires were created as a direct consequence of this horrific carnage in Europe; not one of whom ever sullied their hands in this epic onslaught, other than to remove the ink stains resulting from the counting of the dollar bills obscenely obtained from the misfortunes of others.
Can you recall when law firms never sullied their hands with this sort of lowest common denominator behaviour?
That meant former RPR prime minister Mr Edouard Balladur in Ile-de-France and UDF leader Mr Francois Leotard in Provence-Alpes-Cotes d'Azur looked set to lose out - whether they stepped aside to let the left win or sullied their hands to gain power with the Front.