sully Definition

  • 1damage the purity or integrity of; defile
  • 2to tarnish or besmirch someone's reputation or good name

Using sully: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "sully" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The scandal sullied his reputation.

  • Example

    He didn't want to sully his hands with the dirty work.

  • Example

    The graffiti sullied the pristine walls of the building.

sully Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for sully

Antonyms for sully

Phrases with sully

  • sully one's name

    to damage someone's reputation or good name


    He was accused of embezzlement, which sullied his name in the industry.

  • sully one's hands

    to involve oneself in something unpleasant or morally questionable


    I don't want to sully my hands with this dirty business.

  • to make a situation more confusing or less clear


    The conflicting reports sullied the waters of the investigation.

Origins of sully

from Old French 'soillier', meaning 'to soil'


Summary: sully in Brief

The verb 'sully' [ˈsʌli] means to damage the purity or integrity of something or someone, especially by tarnishing their reputation. It can be used in phrases like 'sully one's name' and 'sully one's hands.' Synonyms include 'taint,' 'stain,' and 'pollute.'

How do native speakers use this expression?