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sully

verb sul·ly \ ˈsə-lē \

Definition of sully

sullied; sullying
transitive verb
:to make soiled or tarnished :defile

sully was our Word of the Day on 05/18/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of sully in a Sentence

  1. people that sully our state parks with their trash

  2. a once-gleaming marble interior sullied by decades of exposure to cigarette smoke

Recent Examples of sully from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sully.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

The spelling of sully has shifted several times since it was sylian in Old-English, but its meaning has remained essentially the same: "to soil." If you're looking for other words that mean "to soil," you can try out befoul, besmirch, blacken, foul, grime, stain, or simply dirty. You might wonder if the English word sullen (meaning "gloomy or morose") is a relative of sully, and the answer is no. Sullen traces back by way of Anglo- and Old French to Latin solus, meaning "alone."

Origin and Etymology of sully

Middle English *sullien, probably alteration (influenced by Anglo-French suillier, soiller to soil) of sulen to soil, from Old English sylian

sully Synonyms


2

sully

noun

Definition of sully

plural sullies
archaic

First Known Use of sully

1601


Sully

biographical name Sul·ly \ ˈsə-lē , (ˌ)sə-ˈlē , sᵫ-ˈlē \

Definition of Sully

Duc de 1560–1641 Maximilien de Béthune Baron de Ros*ny play \də-rō-ˈnē\ French statesman

Sully

biographical name Sul·ly \ ˈsə-lē \

Definition of Sully

Thomas 1783–1872 American (English-born) painter

SULLY Defined for English Language Learners

sully

verb

Definition of sully for English Language Learners

  • : to damage or ruin the good quality of (something)



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to suppress quietly or indirectly

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