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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

sully your hands

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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References in periodicals archive ?
And on Tuesday morning, officials issued a two-minute warning for Sully's arrival in the Rotunda.
Later this week, Sully will return to Smithtown for the holiday season before joining the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's Facilities Dog Program, to assist wounded veterans.
Truman's folksy aphorism about friends in Washington and dogs is probably apocryphal ndash the 33rd US president didn't actually like dogs ndash but he would surely have fallen for Sully's charms.ONLINE STARThe four-legged friend is already something of an online star.
Sully was matched to Bush this June, at the age of two.
It had all started in good spirits with Llanrumney loaning struggling Sully two players at the start of the match so they had the permitted 12 for the National League encounter to go ahead.
Sully acknowledged that were it not for all the good people who shared Leibowitz's post, Leibowitz could still be waiting for a kidney.
Well, after reading the script, I was trying to think, 'What was the worst thing that could have happened there?' And I said, 'We'll do that as a dream sequence to start the picture off' - just to show people what a real tragedy it could have been and, by the same token, to show how much of this went through Sully's mind.
Now, at 86, he's burnished that theme in a new way, the fear of his own approaching irrelevance (a fear already apparent in Space Cowboys 16 years ago) rhymed with humanity's approaching irrelevance in a world of technology: Sully , defying the algorithms and indeed the rulebook, talks about feelings and the way he "eyeballed" the situation.
Like Hanks' Sully in the film, Sullenberger did suffer from PTSD.
In fact, the film--which, in Eastwood's typical no-fat style, runs an efficient 96 minutes--holds back on what really happened until more than an hour in, and instead opens with a vivid nightmare in which Sully imagines a far different outcome, had he followed through on his initial strategy of returning to LaGuardia Airport with practically no thrust in either engine: The dream culminates in a fiery demise for all onboard, as Flight 1549 crashes into a skyscraper.
"It will be opening in September 2016, and the first movie that is likely be screened is called Sully," a spokesperson of VOX Cinemas said.
Locals in Murray Bridge turn to Sully's during emergency times when keys are locked in houses or keys are lost.
Sully, arguably the most successful Welsh club of the past decade, are now playing in Division Two and were at Barry who went in first and set 262-6.
RHOOSE .......................2 SULLY SPORTS.....0 MAN-OF-THE-MATCH Drew Fahiya scored one goal and created the other as Rhoose handed Sully Sports yet another Welsh League play-off defeat at Bryntirion Park yesterday.