a box or receptacle for holding sand, especially one large enough for children to play in.
Computers. an environment in which software developers or editors can create and test new content, separate from other content in the project (often used attributively): sandbox web design; New features are tested and critiqued in the demo sandbox.


Digital Technology. noting or relating to a genre of video game with a nonlinear structure that allows players to roam freely.

Origin of sandbox

First recorded in 1565–75; sand + box1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sandbox

Contemporary Examples of sandbox

Historical Examples of sandbox

  • He wrote on for a few moments; then he raised the sandbox and sprinkled the document.

  • With the sandbox tilted in the air, like a dicer about to make his throw, he looked at the lad.

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Then there was the snug berth in the sandbox you could curl all up in.

    Nibsy's Christmas

    Jacob A. Riis

  • He wrote the words after the name, and shook the sandbox over the wet ink.

    The New Magdalen

    Wilkie Collins

  • We may suppose that Steele called for pens and paper and a sandbox, and took a table in one of White's forward windows.

    Hints to Pilgrims

    Charles Stephen Brooks

British Dictionary definitions for sandbox



a container on a railway locomotive from which sand is released onto the rails to assist the traction
a box with sand shaped for moulding metal
a container of sand for small children to play in
computing a protected environment in which an untrusted program may be run without affecting other parts of the system
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 sandbox

also sand-box, 1570s as an instrument to sprinkle sand, from sand (n.) + box (n.1). From 1680s as "a box holding sand;" 1891 as a low-sided sand pit for children's play.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper