Definition of get one's hands dirty (or dirty one's hands) in English:

get one's hands dirty (or dirty one's hands)


  • 1Do manual, menial, or other hard work.

    • ‘The Lowry managers seemed happy to get their hands dirty, though some found it hard going.’
    • ‘And those who do have jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber are more likely than anywhere else to be getting their hands dirty in manual or semi-skilled jobs.’
    • ‘They are asked by their parents to choose a way of life that involves getting their hands dirty for very little or no money.’
    • ‘Don't tell me you once got your hands dirty between VCA and graphic design.’
    • ‘Members of the Lions Club got their hands dirty on Thursday night, when they donned gloves and picked up shovels for a clean up of Samson's Lane and Rossglass Beach.’
    • ‘After a life working in data communications for British Telecom, British Gas and the Royal Bank of Scotland, he's now swapped the ordinary office life for a job that really involves getting his hands dirty.’
    • ‘I never forgot where I'd come from, and I was never too good that I couldn't get my hands dirty and do menial jobs.’
    • ‘The Midwest is full of doughy white guys that love to get their hands dirty and work hard, so that shouldn't be a problem.’
    • ‘And it's getting harder to convince high school students to get their hands dirty when they've come through a system which measures success in terms of a university degree and the size of the pay packet.’
    • ‘People think that if you go straight into football you don't appreciate finishing early, that you don't have to get your hands dirty or work hard.’
    1. 1.1informal Become involved in dishonest or dishonourable activity.
      • ‘Elections are a dirty business, and Brown makes no apology for getting his hands dirty.’
      • ‘We weren't even sure whether we wanted to get involved, get our hands dirty with politics.’
      • ‘Have there been trends where you feel like you're getting your hands dirty by even involving yourself?’