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[kwik-sand] /ˈkwɪkˌsænd/
a bed of soft or loose sand saturated with water and having considerable depth, yielding under weight and therefore tending to suck down any object resting on its surface.
Origin of quicksand
1275-1325; Middle English qwykkesand. See quick, sand
Related forms
quicksandy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for quicksands
Historical Examples
  • But at the word the whole world reeled and her feet were on quicksands.

    Somehow Good William de Morgan
  • In truth, he was deeper than ever in the quicksands of misunderstanding.

    The Place of Honeymoons Harold MacGrath
  • It was a long, pleasant ride; its only drawback to me being the fording of the river, which had quicksands and a rapid current.

    Tenting on the Plains Elizabeth B. Custer
  • The weak are as great a danger for the strong as quicksands for an elephant.

    Creative Unity Rabindranath Tagore
  • Her last words to me were a message to him, for she does not know he is dead beneath the quicksands of Big Sandy.

  • These coffee-colored floods were underlaid by thick strata of quicksands.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
  • At low water this is nothing more than a huge acreage of mud, with quicksands beneath.

  • He was not used to treading the quicksands of duplicity, and he felt himself sinking.

    Quin Alice Hegan Rice
  • Marie Louise found herself on a huge tapestried divan provided with deep, soft cushions that held her like a quicksands.

    The Cup of Fury Rupert Hughes
  • She gave it to be understood that he, like Bompard, had met his fate in the quicksands.

    The Beach of Dreams H. De Vere Stacpoole
British Dictionary definitions for quicksands


a deep mass of loose wet sand that submerges anything on top of it
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for quicksands



c.1300, from Middle English quyk "living" (see quick (adj.)) + sond "sand" (see sand (n.)). Old English had cwecesund, but this might have meant "lively strait of water."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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quicksands in Science
A deep bed of loose, smoothly rounded sand grains, saturated with water and forming a soft, shifting mass that yields easily to pressure and tends to engulf objects resting on its surface. Although it is possible for a person to drown while mired in quicksand, the human body is less dense than any quicksand and is thus not drawn or sucked beneath the surface as is sometimes popularly believed.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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quicksands in the Bible

found only in Acts 27:17, the rendering of the Greek Syrtis. On the north coast of Africa were two localities dangerous to sailors, called the Greater and Lesser Syrtis. The former of these is probably here meant. It lies between Tripoli and Barca, and near Cyrene. The Lesser Syrtis lay farther to the west.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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