An example of sully is spilling a glass of red wine on white carpet.
Origin of sullyprobably ; from French souiller ; from Old French soillier: see soil
, Duc de. Title of Maximilien de Béthune. 1560–1641.
transitive verbsul·lied, sul·ly·ing, sul·lies
- To mar the cleanness or luster of; soil or stain.
- To defile; taint: sully a reputation.
nounpl. sul·lies Archaic
Origin of sullyProbably from French souiller, from Old French; see soil2.
(third-person singular simple present sullies, present participle sullying, simple past and past participle sullied)
From Middle English sulien (also sulwen), from Old English sylian (“to sully, soil, pollute"), from Proto-Germanic *suliwÅnÄ…, *sulwÅnÄ…, *sulwijanÄ… (“to sully, make dirty"), from Proto-Indo-European *sÅ«l- (“thick liquid, muck"). Cognate with Old Saxon sulian (“to sully"), Middle Dutch soluwen (“to sully"), German sÃ¼hlen (“to sully"), Danish sÃ¸le (“to sully"), Swedish sÃ¶la (“to sully"). Perhaps conflated partially with Old French souillier ("to soil";> French souiller), from the same Germanic source. Related also to Old English solian (“to soil, become defiled, make or become foul"). More at soil.