[ suhl-ee ]
/ ˈsʌl i /

verb (used with object), sul·lied, sul·ly·ing.

to soil, stain, or tarnish.
to mar the purity or luster of; defile: to sully a reputation.

verb (used without object), sul·lied, sul·ly·ing.

to become sullied, soiled, or tarnished.

noun, plural sul·lies.

Obsolete. a stain; soil.

Origin of sully

First recorded in 1585–95; origin uncertain


sul·li·a·ble, adjectiveun·sul·li·a·ble, adjectiveun·sul·lied, adjective

Definition for sully (2 of 2)

[ suhl-ee; for 1 also French sy-lee ]
/ ˈsʌl i; for 1 also French süˈli /


Ma·xi·mi·lien de Bé·thune [mak-see-mee-lyan duh bey-tyn] /mak si miˈlyɛ̃ də beɪˈtün/, Duc de,1560–1641, French statesman.
Thomas,1783–1872, U.S. painter, born in England. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for sully

British Dictionary definitions for sully (1 of 2)

/ (ˈsʌlɪ) /

verb -lies, -lying or -lied

to stain or tarnish (a reputation, etc) or (of a reputation) to become stained or tarnished

noun plural -lies

a stain
the act of sullying

Derived forms of sully

sulliable, adjective

Word Origin for sully

C16: probably from French souiller to soil

British Dictionary definitions for sully (2 of 2)

/ (ˈsʌlɪ, French sylli) /


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