Word of the Day : May 18, 2014

sully

play
verb SUL-ee

Definition

: to make soiled or tarnished : defile

Did You Know?

The spelling of today's word 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."


Examples

The mayor worried that the latest scandal had hopelessly sullied his good name.

"The bank's reputation was sullied when its former chairman … was caught on tape in November discussing an alleged drug purchase." - From an article by Max Colchester in the Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2014



Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "lodestar," our Word of the Day from April 18? The answer is …


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