Etymology
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sedge (n.)

"coarse grass-like plant growing in wet places," Middle English segge, from Old English secg "sedge, reed, rush," according to Watkins from Proto-Germanic *sagjaz "plant with a cutting edge" (source also of Low German segge, German Segge), from suffixed form of PIE root *sek- "to cut," on notion of plant with "cutting" leaves.

Compare Old English secg, identical in form but meaning "sword;" and German schwertel-gras "sedge" from schwert "sword," also see the etymological sense of gladiolus). Old Irish seisg, Welsh hesgreed "rush" might represent a similar sense development from the same root. Often spelled seg, segg until the present form triumphed early 1900s. Related: Sedgy (early 14c., seggy).

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sand (v.)

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.

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sand (n.)
Origin and meaning of sand

"water-worn detritus finer than gravel; fine particles of rocks (largely crystalline rocks, especially quartz); the material of the beach, desert, or sea-bed;" Old English sand, from Proto-Germanic *sandam (source also of Old Norse sandr, Old Frisian sond, Middle Dutch sant, Dutch zand, German Sand), from PIE *bhs-amadho- (source also of Greek psammos "sand;" Latin sabulum "coarse sand," which is the 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. In compounds, often indicating "of the shore, found on sandy beaches." In old U.S. colloquial use, "grit, endurance, pluck" (1867), especially in have sand in (one's) craw. Sands "tract or region composed of sand," is by mid-15c.

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sand-bank (n.)

"hill of sand formed in a river or sea by tides and currents," 1580s; see sand (n.) + bank (n.2).

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sand-trap (n.)

1838, in hydraulics, "device for filtering impurities from water," from sand (n.) + trap (n.). As "golf bunker," by 1906.

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sand-grass (n.)

any type of grass growing in sand and serving to bind it, 1766; see sand (n.) + grass (n.).

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sand-blast (v.)

"to blast with sand" (so as to clean or polish a hard surface), 1878 (implied in sand-blasted), from sand (n.) + blast (v.). Earlier as a noun, "contrivance to drive sand by air or steam." Related: Sand-blasting.

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sand-hill (n.)

"dune," Old English sondhyllas (plural); see sand (n.) + hill (n.). For sand-hiller "poor white of Georgia or South Carolina" (by 1848) see cracker (n.2). Earlier it meant "blackguard, user of foul language" (by 1813) in the dialect of Durham and Yorkshire, according to contemporary sources probably from Sandhill in Newcastle.

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sand-lot (n.)

"plot of empty land in a town or suburb," by 1878, from sand (n.) + lot. As an adjective in reference to the kind of sports or games played on sand-lots by amateurs, it is recorded from 1890 in American English. Earlier it had reference to socialism or communism based on the political movement that originated among orators in the sand-lots of San Francisco (by 1867).

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sand-dune (n.)

"ridge of loose sand drifted by the wind," 1830; see sand (n.) + dune (n.). 

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