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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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


2. To contaminate the reputation of:
Idioms: give a black eye to, sling mud on.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


[ˈsʌlɪ] VT (poet) [+ name, reputation] → manchar, mancillar
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


vt reputationbesudeln; to sully one’s hands by doing something (fig)sich (dat)die Hände schmutzig machen, indem man etw tut
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈsʌlɪ] vt (frm) → macchiare
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in classic literature ?
(cried I) how canst thou thus undauntedly endeavour to sully the spotless reputation of such bright Excellence?
Partridge likewise shovelled in his share of calumny, and (what may surprize the reader) not only bespattered the maid, but attempted to sully the lily-white character of Sophia herself.
There are, nevertheless, three or four female heads, of an ethereal beauty-portraits in the manner of Sully. The tone of each picture is warm, but dark.
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.
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. He was a little over twenty-one years of age and looked eighteen.
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.
For the last six months, Sully the service dog was President George H.W.
Bush's loyal service dog, Sully, made headlines this week when he lay down next to his master's coffin, looking forlorn.
Bush's faithful service dog Sully made a final journey back to the US capital with the late president.
Mr Bush died on Friday, aged 94, and the picture of Sully with the casket in a Texas funeral home was taken before the 41st president's body was flown to Washington, ahead of tomorrow's state funeral.