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).

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.