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13 Essential Literary Terms

sully

[suhl-ee] /ˈsʌl i/
verb (used with object), sullied, sullying.
1.
to soil, stain, or tarnish.
2.
to mar the purity or luster of; defile:
to sully a reputation.
verb (used without object), sullied, sullying.
3.
to become sullied, soiled, or tarnished.
noun, plural sullies.
4.
Obsolete. a stain; soil.
Origin
1585-1595
1585-95; origin uncertain
Related forms
sulliable, adjective
unsulliable, adjective
unsullied, adjective
Synonyms
1. taint, blemish, contaminate. 2. dirty, disgrace, dishonor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for sullied
  • Brady's reputation as the clutchest of clutch playoff quarterbacks is sullied after three straight playoff losses.
  • Methods, theories, entire disciplines get needlessly sullied.
  • The last thing the image makers want is a sullied picture.
  • Stories about his dictatorial management style have sullied his reputation.
  • All sorts of stories and rumors followed her, plagued her, and sullied the public's view of her.
  • Otherwise the plan will face a sullied reputation and the high cost of correcting medical mishaps.
  • His brilliant career was ever so slightly sullied by a confounding three-week slump.
  • The moment was too inspiring and uniting to be sullied by something as ugly as rampant consumerism and greed.
  • Their reputations could be sullied by folks who misconstrue your situation.
  • The beautiful game has been sullied by tawdry gamesmanship.
British Dictionary definitions for sullied

sully

/ˈsʌlɪ/
verb -lies, -lying, -lied
1.
to stain or tarnish (a reputation, etc) or (of a reputation) to become stained or tarnished
noun (pl) -lies
2.
a stain
3.
the act of sullying
Derived Forms
sulliable, adjective
Word Origin
C16: probably from French souiller to soil

Sully

/ˈsʌlɪ; French sylli/
noun
1.
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
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Word Origin and History for sullied

sully

v.

1570s (implied in sulliedness), probably from Middle French souiller, from Old French souillier "make dirty" (see soil (v.)). Related: Sullied; sullying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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