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[sand-man] /ˈsændˌmæn/
noun, plural sandmen.
the man who, in fairy tales or folklore, puts sand in the eyes of children to make them sleepy.
Origin of sandman
First recorded in 1860-65; sand + man1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sandman
Historical Examples
  • She was singing to her baby about the 'sandman,' or den lille Ole, as we Danes say.

    Our Little Danish Cousin Luna May Innes
  • "It makes my blood run cold to hear him," whispered the sandman.

    Auriol W. Harrison Ainsworth
  • "I don't half like it," replied the sandman, his teeth chattering with apprehension.

    Auriol W. Harrison Ainsworth
  • "Vith all my 'art," replied the sandman, searching the clothes of the victim.

    Auriol W. Harrison Ainsworth
  • "Look 'em over yourself," rejoined the sandman, pushing the book towards him.

    Auriol W. Harrison Ainsworth
  • "That's a view o' the case worthy of an Old Bailey lawyer," replied the sandman.

    Auriol W. Harrison Ainsworth
  • "Exactly the case with the t'other," whispered the Tinker to the sandman.

    Auriol W. Harrison Ainsworth
  • "I'll go and see wot's the matter wi' Ginger," said the sandman, slinking after him.

    Auriol W. Harrison Ainsworth
  • "Yes, ve'll take care on you," added the Tinker and the sandman.

    Auriol W. Harrison Ainsworth
  • "Vell, I s'pose I must," replied the sandman, taking the goblet proffered him.

    Auriol W. Harrison Ainsworth
British Dictionary definitions for sandman


noun (pl) -men
(in folklore) a magical person supposed to put children to sleep by sprinkling sand in their eyes
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 sandman

bringer of sleep in nursery lore, 1861, from sand (n.) in reference to hard grains found in the eyelashes on waking; first attested in a translation from the Norwegian of Andersen (his Ole Lukoie "Ole Shut-eye," about a being who makes children sleepy, came out 1842), and perhaps partly from German Sandmann. More common in U.S.; dustman with the same sense is attested from 1821.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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