strong paper coated with a layer of sand or other abrasive, used for smoothing or polishing.

verb (used with object)

to smooth or polish with or as if with sandpaper.

Origin of sandpaper

First recorded in 1815–25; sand + paper Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for sandpaper

shine, rub, smooth, furbish, gloss, glaze, burnish, brush, scour, pumice

Examples from the Web for sandpaper

Contemporary Examples of sandpaper

Historical Examples of sandpaper

  • The sandpaper must be applied unsparingly and always with the grain.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats

    Raymond Francis Yates

  • You were just rubbing the sandpaper and the cloth together and singing.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • He could hear a faint rasping like the rustle of sandpaper, as they did so.

  • Move the third brush only 1/16 inch and then sandpaper the brush seat with 00 sandpaper.

  • His throat was like sandpaper and the words came out in a rasp.

    The Dark Door

    Alan Edward Nourse

British Dictionary definitions for sandpaper



(formerly) a strong paper coated with sand for smoothing and polishing
a common name for glasspaper


(tr) to polish or grind (a surface) with or as if with sandpaper
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 sandpaper

also sand-paper, 1788, from sand (n.) + paper (n.).


1835, from sandpaper (n.). Related: Sandpapered; sandpapering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper