verb (sullies, sullying, sullied)[with object] • literary or • ironic
- Damage the purity or integrity of; defile: they were outraged that anyone should sully their good nameMore example sentences
- The fact that literature is an ideological construct enables us to answer the objection that by turning to literature to address legal problems we sully the integrity of art with our political agendas.
- Tony was reluctant to let anyone else touch the wallet, as if alien fingers might sully the purity of his dad's memory.
- Here, in a beautiful image which combines the motifs of the sweet exchange and of unveiling, he shows how we were taught purity by one who sullied himself for our sake.
late 16th century: perhaps from French souiller 'to soil'.