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English

A child whose face and hand have been sullied after playing with mud

From Middle English sulen, sulien (to become dirty; to defile, pollute, taint), from Old English sylian (to soil, pollute; to sully), from Proto-Germanic *suliwōną, *sulwōną, *sulwijaną (to make dirty; to sully), from Proto-Indo-European *sūl- (thick liquid, muck), perhaps conflated partially with Old French souillier (to soil) (modern French souiller) from the same Germanic source. The word is cognate with Danish søle (to sully), Dutch zaluwen (to sully) (Middle Dutch saluwen (to sully)), German sühlen (to sully), Old Saxon sulian (to sully), Swedish söla (to sully). Also compare Middle English sulpen (to defile, pollute), Old English solian (to soil, become defiled, make or become foul), and see more at soil.