wash hands of

wash (one's) hands of (someone or something)

1. To absolve oneself of or distance oneself from responsibility for something. I don't want to be part of this scheme any more. I wash my hands of it.
2. To renounce, abandon, or distance oneself from someone or something. The director famously hated the final cut of the movie and has washed his hands of it, even going so far as to remove his name from the project. I'm afraid that if I tell my parents what I've done, they will wash their hands of me.
See also: hand, of, wash

wash one's hands of someone or something

Fig. to end one's association with someone or something. (Fig. on the notion of getting rid of a problem by removing it as if it were dirt on the hands.) I washed my hands of Tom. I wanted no more to do with him. That car was a real headache. I washed my hands of it long ago.
See also: hand, of, wash

wash (one's) hands of

1. To refuse to accept responsibility for: He washed his hands of the matter.
2. To abandon; renounce: They have washed their hands of him.
See also: hand, of, wash

wash one's hands of (something), to

To dismiss or renounce interest in; to turn away and refuse responsibility. The term comes from the Bible, where at Jesus’s trial the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, saw that he could not save Jesus and “washed his hands before the multitude, saying I am innocent of the blood of this just person” (Matthew 27:24). Shakespeare referred to it directly in Richard II (4.1): “Some of you with Pilate wash your hands.” Dickens and others used it somewhat more lightly: “He had entirely washed his hands of the difficulty” (Bleak House, 1853).
See also: hand, of, wash