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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 ?
The choir are getting on their sullied white robes, in a hurry, when he arrives among them, gets on his own robe, and falls into the procession filing in to service.
"When I presented myself before you for the first time in London, it was to ask you what had become of my fortune; the second time it was to demand who had sullied my name; and this time I come before you to ask a question far more terrible than any other, to say to you as God said to the first murderer: `Cain, what hast thou done to thy brother Abel?' My lord, what have you done with your sister -- your sister, who was my mother?"
It was true that the association with this man had been fatal to him-- true that if he had had the thousand pounds still in his hands with all his debts unpaid he would have returned the money to Bulstrode, and taken beggary rather than the rescue which had been sullied with the suspicion of a bribe (for, remember, he was one of the proudest among the sons of men)--nevertheless, he would not turn away from this crushed fellow-mortal whose aid he had used, and make a pitiful effort to get acquittal for himself by howling against another.