sully (one's) hands

(redirected from sully 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 ?
'Many engineers these days have grown leery of dirt and grime; they think of themselves as elite, white-collar workers and they don't want any work that would sully their hands with dirt.
White politicians, not wanting to sully their hands, hire Ang to investigate both crimes.
Are educated kids so precious these days they don't believe they should sully their hands with menial work?
What saddens me is that while everyone from the Queen to Tony Blair queued up to pay tribute to Jill Dando, not one member of the Establishment wanted to sully their hands on the memory of Oliver Reed.