Definition of sand in US English:



  • 1A loose granular substance, typically pale yellowish brown, resulting from the erosion of siliceous and other rocks and forming a major constituent of beaches, riverbeds, the seabed, and deserts.

    • ‘The action of the play takes place in a remote ramshackle beach house built on sand dunes.’
    • ‘A part of him refused to entertain the notion that when he reached its edge, he would be confronted by miles of unrelenting desert sand.’
    • ‘The land was mostly flat and featureless; even the most desolate of the southern deserts had some rolling sand dunes and some cacti.’
    • ‘Lanzarote is a volcanic island, which accounts for the dark sand on some beaches.’
    • ‘On the beach we placed our towels on the golden sand.’
    • ‘Fort Lauderdale Beach Promenade along Atlantic Boulevard provides scenic and easy access to miles of golden sand beaches.’
    • ‘The beach, which I'd always pictured as miles of golden sand, is actually a short stretch of pebbles.’
    • ‘As loose as dry sand, such crystals often constitute the critical weak layer of a slab avalanche.’
    • ‘It was beautiful, with golden sand and green vegetation further along the beach.’
    • ‘There has been speculation the maverick Republicans use the isolated sand dunes along Ballyhornan beach to test fire guns and explosives.’
    • ‘The main attraction of Wollogorang Station is the 80 km of yellow sand beaches and river estuaries’
    • ‘This half-day guided tour will bring them right onto the golden sand dunes of Arabia in four-wheel drives.’
    • ‘There is another irony about desert sand dunes: They are a product of both aridity and water.’
    • ‘With no collection system, mountains of empty plastic bottles pile up in sand dunes behind its white sand beaches.’
    • ‘The Umbra came to rest in the center of a small ring of rocks, its landing struts sinking into the fine desert sand.’
    • ‘About two kilometers around the lake, the sand beach turned into rocks and there was a huge cliff over top.’
    • ‘Should you prefer to keep your head above water, the beaches, with their fine golden sand and tall palms, won't disappoint.’
    • ‘The work could be viewed both from boats cruising the bay and from a deserted beach lined with sand dunes.’
    • ‘A perfect view of the ocean stretched out before her, the waves rolling slowly towards the rock and sand of the beach.’
    • ‘I look out at two miles of white sand beach, lapped by water with a visibility of 200 feet.’
    beach, sands, shore, seaside, seashore, foreshore, dunes, sand dunes, sandhills, desert
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1sands An expanse of sand, typically along a shore.
      in place names ‘White Sands’
      • ‘Exactly one month later, the Duke of Edinburgh officially opened the £1 million terminal and flew the Swift across the Goodwin Sands himself.’
    2. 1.2 A stratum of sandstone or compacted sand.
      • ‘Several layers of sand, stone, concrete and a special membrane covering lie between the origins of the radon and the actual home in the miniature house.’
      • ‘The land is on a sand and gravel aquifer, several hundred metres from a reservoir that supplies drinking water to 650,000 homes in Dublin.’
      • ‘The most complete fossil was that of an adult male skull lacking a lower jaw found embedded in ancient cemented sands.’
      • ‘OPEC's foot-dragging developing the 76% of world oil reserves under its sands and swamps is the biggest problem.’
      • ‘Century-old photographs show the dignified ruin of the memorial to one of ancient Egypt's few female rulers, a building then recently excavated from the sands.’
      • ‘The geology at Grimes Graves comprises a number of flint layers lying below sands and clays and interspersed between chalk.’
      • ‘Beneath the dense vegetation are layer upon layer of sand, clay, and limestone that were deposited or created by ancient seas.’
    3. 1.3technical Sediment whose particles are larger than silt (typically greater than 0.06 mm).
      • ‘Rust, scale, sand or other sediments can clog any activated charcoal filter.’
      • ‘In laboratory determinations, analyses are made for five size classes of sand, two of silt, and two of clay.’
      • ‘As wastewater is applied to the top of a bed of sand, gravity draws it down between the sand particles.’
      • ‘Rather, it permeates organic matter, binding it to silt, sand, and clay particles.’
      • ‘Soils in this classification include fine sands, loamy sands and fine sandy loams.’
    4. 1.4North American informal Firmness of purpose.
      ‘no one has the sand to stand against him’
      • ‘It is annoying when a guy with a novelty helmet thinks he has the sand to run a million dollar organization.’
    5. 1.5 A light yellow-brown color like that of sand.
      • ‘The main bathroom is also at this level and features a stone wall, sand coloured tiles and rustic style walls.’
      • ‘He had shaggy sand coloured hair, and today he was wearing another oddly coloured blazer from his collection.’
      • ‘The floor was golden brown and sand colored tile that was arranged in large squares and the small slivers of grout looked like gold.’
      • ‘This newspaper has learned that the poisonous sand coloured Weever fish has arrived in local waters as a result of global warming.’
      • ‘The officer was built like a wrestler, with thinning sand coloured hair and a neatly groomed beard.’
      • ‘Nude tones like beige, sand and linen look best on skin that's moist, dewy and natural-looking.’
      • ‘He is a rather portly man with wavy, sand coloured hair and a farmer's style shirt.’
      • ‘The ground was light sand that matched my tan clothes perfectly and the seats surrounding me were all made out of stone.’
      • ‘Some ladies however prefer to go neutral in warm beige, sand and khaki combinations.’


[with object]
  • 1Smooth or polish with sandpaper or a mechanical sander.

    ‘sand the rusty areas until you expose bare metal’
    • ‘If the rust refuses to budge, use a #800 sand paper to sand the metal and repaint.’
    • ‘After peeling the bark, the knots where the branches were need to be sanded to a very smooth finish.’
    • ‘Start with 80-grit paper until the dent or scratch is sanded out, then finish-sand and feather into the surrounding area with 120-grit paper.’
    • ‘Once it's completely dry, it can be sanded, drilled or cut with normal woodworking tools.’
    • ‘Some log furniture is sanded smooth, some are skipped peeled, some have the bark on and some are completely peeled.’
    • ‘Lightly sand the entire board smooth, but be careful not to remove too much finish from surrounding boards.’
    • ‘Taking rough-grit sandpaper, sand the remaining membrane out of the gourd.’
    • ‘Lacquer, shellac, varnish stay on top of the wood; if worn off in traffic areas, usually the whole floor has to be sanded and refinished.’
    • ‘Joints and spackled areas should be thoroughly cured and sanded smooth.’
    • ‘The bookcase and shelves were sealed with a primer, then sanded smooth with medium-grade sandpaper.’
    • ‘Attach plywood with panel adhesive and brads and sand it flush with front edge.’
    • ‘Sand blasting would leave marks and sand in the wood, which would have to be sanded out and filled in to obtain a smooth final finish.’
    • ‘Once I had it smooth I used some 220 grit Wet and Dry and sanded the edges smooth under running water.’
    • ‘Once the worst pitting and damage is filed away, he sands the metal with a coarse sandpaper.’
    • ‘Corion can be sanded lightly using number 800 sandpaper.’
    • ‘Aluminum siding, however, has a baked enamel finish so it can be sanded or scuffed up, then primed with a special etching primer developed just for this purpose.’
    • ‘The surfaces are built from slender pieces of 3/4-inch-thick plywood laminated together, then sanded smooth.’
    • ‘Cover the patch with compound, allow it to dry, and sand it smooth after drying.’
    • ‘Once it begins to wear out it is no longer sanding, but polishing, which will close the grain again.’
    • ‘The gesso ground is sanded smooth so that acrylic glazes bead up and acquire a high-resolution look while emphasizing the picture plane.’
  • 2Sprinkle or overlay with sand, to give better purchase on a surface.

    • ‘The heavily sanded Turf Moor surface is a cause for concern ahead of tonight's big kick-off.’
    • ‘Citing a similar accident the week before on Ring Road, one taxi driver speculated that if the city had sanded the road sooner, the accident wouldn't have happened.’


  • the sands of time

    • The allotted time.

      • ‘In that respect he is fortunate that golf, more than any other major sport, is kind to the middle-aged, but even at the relatively young age of 43 the sands of time are running out.’
      • ‘She must be wondering whether the sands of time are running out, ridiculous as it might sound for a youngster of her tender years.’
      • ‘Whatever the party members may think, soldiers in Germany must know the sands are running out.’


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zand and German Sand.