to get one's hands dirty


1. to do tough physical work or become involved in something dishonest or unpleasant






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don't just stand there, get stuck in and get your hands dirty

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To 'get your hands dirty' means to be involved in work that is considered tough or difficult. It can also mean to become involved in something that is dishonest or even illegal. If you are willing to 'get your hands dirty' you are someone who is not just able to dictate instructions; you are also willing to get involved personally in difficult details or do some physical work. It is an idiomatic expression used in social and professional contexts.

Check Icon Social Examples (Basic)

  1. I prefer to watch other people cook. I don't like to get my hands dirty.
  2. He is an amazing help in the garden because he's not afraid to get his hands dirty.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. We need to be careful. This is a legal grey area and we can't be seen to get our hands dirty.
  2. Jerome is such a hypocrite: he always tells us what we should be doing but he never gets involved or gets his hands dirty.

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