verb (used with object)


    draw a line in the sand, to set a limit; allow to go up to a point but no further.

Origin of sand

before 900; Middle English (noun), Old English; cognate with German Sand, Old Norse sandr
Related formssand·a·ble, adjectivesand·less, adjectivesand·like, adjectiveun·sand·ed, adjectivewell-sand·ed, adjective
Can be confusedsand sediment silt


[sand; French sahnd]


George [jawrj; French zhawrzh] /dʒɔrdʒ; French ʒɔrʒ/Lucile Aurore Dupin Dudevant, 1804–76, French novelist.

sand. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sand

Contemporary Examples of sand

Historical Examples of sand

  • The sides of this hill he covered with a layer of bricks that the sand might not be blown away.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • We could not find any of his camps, however; doubtless the sand has long since covered them.

  • But it was not to be drifted up with the sand of forgetfulness!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • But they saw that the sea was for the swimmer, and the sand for the feet of the runner.

    De Profundis

    Oscar Wilde

  • Yates caught up a handful of sand, and flung it lightly against the pane.

British Dictionary definitions for sand



loose material consisting of rock or mineral grains, esp rounded grains of quartz, between 0.05 and 2 mm in diameter
(often plural) a sandy area, esp on the seashore or in a desert
  1. a greyish-yellow colour
  2. (as adjective)sand upholstery
the grains of sandlike material in an hourglass
US informal courage; grit
draw a line in the sand to put a stop to or a limit on
the sands are running out there is not much time left before death or the end


(tr) to smooth or polish the surface of with sandpaper or sandto sand a floor
(tr) to sprinkle or cover with or as if with sand; add sand to
to fill or cause to fill with sandthe channel sanded up
Derived Formssandlike, adjective

Word Origin for sand

Old English; related to Old Norse sandr, Old High German sant, Greek hamathos



George (ʒɔrʒ), pen name of Amandine Aurore Lucie Dupin. 1804–76, French novelist, best known for such pastoral novels as La Mare au diable (1846) and François le Champi (1847–48) and for her works for women's rights to independence
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

Word Origin and History for sand

Old English sand, from Proto-Germanic *sandam (cf. Old Norse sandr, Old Frisian sond, Middle Dutch sant, Dutch zand, German Sand), from PIE *bhs-amadho- (cf. Greek psammos "sand;" Latin sabulum "coarse sand," source of Italian sabbia, French sable), suffixed form of root *bhes- "to rub."

Historically, the line between sand and gravel cannot be distinctly drawn. Used figuratively in Old English in reference to innumerability and instability. General Germanic, but not attested in Gothic, which used in this sense malma, related to Old High German melm "dust," the first element of the Swedish city name Malmö (the second element meaning "island"), and to Latin molere "to grind." Metaphoric for "innumerability" since Old English. Sand dollar, type of flat sea-urchin, so called from 1884, so called for its shape; sand dune attested from 1830.


late 14c., "to sprinkle with sand," from sand (n.); from 1620s as "to bury or fill in with sand." Meaning "to grind or polish with sand" is from 1858. Related: Sanded; sanding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sand in Medicine




Small, loose grains of worn or disintegrated rock.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

sand in Science



A sedimentary material consisting of small, often rounded grains or particles of disintegrated rock, smaller than granules and larger than silt. The diameter of the particles ranges from 0.0625 to 2 mm. Although sand often consists of quartz, it can consist of any other mineral or rock fragment as well. Coral sand, for example, consists of limestone fragments.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with sand


see build on sand; hide one's head in the sand.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.