wash one's 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

Refuse to accept responsibility for; abandon or renounce. For example, I've done all I can for him, and now I'm washing my hands of him. This expression alludes to Pontius Pilate's washing his hands before having Jesus put to death, saying "I am innocent of the blood of this just person" (Matthew 27:24).
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
References in periodicals archive ?
The public hearings have meant that it is now impossible to dismiss the past and wash one's hands of responsibility.
Another common expression is to wash one's hands of a matter.
For example, consider the thought, effort, and number of words required to convey the ideas implied by such expressions as wolf in sheep's clothing, wash one's hands of a matter, or killed with kindness.