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 (sŭl′ē, so͞o-lē′, sü-), Duc de Title of Maximilien de Béthune. 1560-1641.
French politician. As chief minister to Henry IV, he replenished the treasury and encouraged agriculture and industry.


tr.v. sul·lied, sul·ly·ing, sul·lies
1. To mar the cleanness or luster of; soil or stain.
2. To defile; taint: sully a reputation.
n. pl. sul·lies Archaic
Something that stains or spots.

[Probably from French souiller, from Old French; see soil2.]


vb, -lies, -lying or -lied
to stain or tarnish (a reputation, etc) or (of a reputation) to become stained or tarnished
n, pl -lies
1. a stain
2. the act of sullying
[C16: probably from French souiller to soil]
ˈsulliable adj


(ˈsʌlɪ; French sylli)
(Biography) 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


(ˈsʌl i)

v. -lied, -ly•ing, v.t.
1. to soil, stain, or tarnish.
2. to mar the purity or luster of; defile: to sully a reputation.
3. to become sullied, soiled, or tarnished.
4. Obs. a stain; soil.
[1585–95; orig. uncertain]
sul′li•a•ble, adj.


(ˈsʌl i; for 1 also Fr. süˈli)

1. Maximilien de Béthune, Duc de, 1560–1641, French statesman.
2. Thomas, 1783–1872, U.S. painter, born in England.


Past participle: sullied
Gerund: sullying

I sully
you sully
he/she/it sullies
we sully
you sully
they sully
I sullied
you sullied
he/she/it sullied
we sullied
you sullied
they sullied
Present Continuous
I am sullying
you are sullying
he/she/it is sullying
we are sullying
you are sullying
they are sullying
Present Perfect
I have sullied
you have sullied
he/she/it has sullied
we have sullied
you have sullied
they have sullied
Past Continuous
I was sullying
you were sullying
he/she/it was sullying
we were sullying
you were sullying
they were sullying
Past Perfect
I had sullied
you had sullied
he/she/it had sullied
we had sullied
you had sullied
they had sullied
I will sully
you will sully
he/she/it will sully
we will sully
you will sully
they will sully
Future Perfect
I will have sullied
you will have sullied
he/she/it will have sullied
we will have sullied
you will have sullied
they will have sullied
Future Continuous
I will be sullying
you will be sullying
he/she/it will be sullying
we will be sullying
you will be sullying
they will be sullying
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been sullying
you have been sullying
he/she/it has been sullying
we have been sullying
you have been sullying
they have been sullying
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been sullying
you will have been sullying
he/she/it will have been sullying
we will have been sullying
you will have been sullying
they will have been sullying
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been sullying
you had been sullying
he/she/it had been sullying
we had been sullying
you had been sullying
they had been sullying
I would sully
you would sully
he/she/it would sully
we would sully
you would sully
they would sully
Past Conditional
I would have sullied
you would have sullied
he/she/it would have sullied
we would have sullied
you would have sullied
they would have sullied
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.sully - United States painter (born in England) of portraits and historical scenes (1783-1872)Sully - United States painter (born in England) of portraits and historical scenes (1783-1872)
2.Sully - French statesman (1560-1641)
Verb1.sully - place under suspicion or cast doubt upon; "sully someone's reputation"
mar, deflower, impair, vitiate, spoil - make imperfect; "nothing marred her beauty"
2.sully - make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically; "The silver was tarnished by the long exposure to the air"; "Her reputation was sullied after the affair with a married man"
blob, fleck, blot, spot - make a spot or mark onto; "The wine spotted the tablecloth"
darken - tarnish or stain; "a scandal that darkened the family's good name"
3.sully - charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone; "The journalists have defamed me!" "The article in the paper sullied my reputation"
accuse, charge - blame for, make a claim of wrongdoing or misbehavior against; "he charged the director with indifference"
assassinate - destroy or damage seriously, as of someone's reputation; "He assassinated his enemy's character"
libel - print slanderous statements against; "The newspaper was accused of libeling him"
badmouth, drag through the mud, malign, traduce - speak unfavorably about; "She badmouths her husband everywhere"


1. dishonour, ruin, disgrace, besmirch, smirch Reputations are easily sullied and business lost.
2. defile, dirty, stain, spot, spoil, contaminate, pollute, taint, tarnish, blemish, befoul I felt loath to sully the gleaming brass knocker by handling it.


2. To contaminate the reputation of:
Idioms: give a black eye to, sling mud on.


[ˈsʌlɪ] VT (poet) [+ name, reputation] → manchar, mancillar


vt reputationbesudeln; to sully one’s hands by doing something (fig)sich (dat)die Hände schmutzig machen, indem man etw tut


[ˈsʌlɪ] vt (frm) → macchiare
References in classic literature ?
When she had administered these restoratives, as I was still quite hysterical, and unable to control my sobs, she put me on the sofa, with a shawl under my head, and the handkerchief from her own head under my feet, lest I should sully the cover; and then, sitting herself down behind the green fan or screen I have already mentioned, so that I could not see her face, ejaculated at intervals, 'Mercy on us
Worthy Thane,'' he continued, addressing Cedric, ``may we pray you to name to us some Norman whose mention may least sully your mouth, and to wash down with a goblet of wine all bitterness which the sound may leave behind it?
As a matter of fact, petted as he was by his two sisters and his old aunt, he had retained from this purely feminine education mnnners that were almost candid and stamped with a charm that nothing had yet been able to sully.
Having ascertained the places which it frequents and passes, they stop the way to them with mud, and then rousing it, drive it towards the spot, and as soon as the ermine comes to the mud it halts, and allows itself to be taken captive rather than pass through the mire, and spoil and sully its whiteness, which it values more than life and liberty.
cried I) how canst thou thus undauntedly endeavour to sully the spotless reputation of such bright Excellence?
There are, nevertheless, three or four female heads, of an ethereal beauty-portraits in the manner of Sully.
You may talk of Bouguereau if you will: there is a cheerful disgustingness in the sound which excites laughter; but let us not sully our chaste lips with the names of J.
Even Reading, though it does its best to spoil and sully and make hideous as much of the river as it can reach, is good-natured enough to keep its ugly face a good deal out of sight.
Mary's white muslin dress suited her particularly well, and she seemed the personification of innocence and love as she sat, now bending her head, now gazing up at the very tall and handsome man who was speaking to her with particular tenderness and self-restraint, as if he feared by word or gesture to offend or sully her angelic purity.
He thought that if the France of former days possessed brains strong enough to comprehend in one system both foreign and domestic affairs, the France of to-day was not likely to be without its Mazarin, its Suger, its Sully, its de Choiseul, or its Colbert to direct even vast administrative departments.
How or by what means--for I scorn to sully her cause by falsehood or deceit--I do not know; at present I do not know, but I am not alone or single-handed in this business.
The genius of a Colbert or of a Sully avails nothing, unless it is supported by the energetic will that makes a Napoleon or a Cromwell.