[ sand-man ]
/ ˈsændˌmæn /

noun, plural sand·men.

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sandman

British Dictionary definitions for sandman


/ (ˈsændˌmæn) /

noun plural -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

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