Sully Definition

sŭlē
sullied, sullies, sullying
verb
sullied, sullies, sullying
To become sullied.
Webster's New World
To soil, stain, tarnish, or besmirch, now esp. by disgracing.
Webster's New World
To defile; taint.
Sully a reputation.
American Heritage
He did not wish to sully his reputation with an ill-mannered comment.
Wiktionary
(intransitive) To become soiled or tarnished.
Wiktionary
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noun
A stain or tarnish; defilement.
Webster's New World
Synonyms:
  • thomas sully
  • Duc de Sully
  • Maxmilien de Bethune
proper name
(Maximilien de Béthune) 1560-1641; Fr. statesman.
Webster's New World
1783-1872; U.S. painter, born in England.
Webster's New World
other
French politician. As chief minister to Henry IV, he replenished the treasury and encouraged agriculture and industry.
American Heritage

Origin of Sully

  • From Middle English sulien (also sulwen), from Old English sylian (“to sully, soil, pollute"), from Proto-Germanic *suliwōnÄ…, *sulwōnÄ…, *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 sühlen (“to sully"), Danish søle (“to sully"), Swedish söla (“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.

    From Wiktionary

  • Probably from French souiller from Old French soil2

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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