sully

[suhl-ee]
verb (used with object), sul·lied, sul·ly·ing.
  1. to soil, stain, or tarnish.
  2. to mar the purity or luster of; defile: to sully a reputation.
verb (used without object), sul·lied, sul·ly·ing.
  1. to become sullied, soiled, or tarnished.
noun, plural sul·lies.
  1. Obsolete. a stain; soil.

Origin of sully

First recorded in 1585–95; origin uncertain
Related formssul·li·a·ble, adjectiveun·sul·li·a·ble, adjectiveun·sul·lied, adjective

Synonyms for sully

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Examples from the Web for sullies

Historical Examples of sullies


British Dictionary definitions for sullies

sully

verb -lies, -lying or -lied
  1. to stain or tarnish (a reputation, etc) or (of a reputation) to become stained or tarnished
noun plural -lies
  1. a stain
  2. the act of sullying
Derived Formssulliable, adjective

Word Origin for sully

C16: probably from French souiller to soil

Sully

noun
  1. Maximilien de Béthune (maksimiljɛ̃ də betyn), Duc de Sully. 1559–1641, French statesman; minister of Henry IV. He helped restore the finances of France after the Wars of Religion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for sullies

sully

v.

1570s (implied in sulliedness), probably from Middle French souiller, from Old French souillier "make dirty" (see soil (v.)). Related: Sullied; sullying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper