sully your 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 ?
Missouri; commuting a death sentence because the condemned man's attorney told the jury "Why sully your hands with this piece of flotsam?