Etymology
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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 (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-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-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-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-dune (n.)

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

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sand-castle (n.)

"sand piled up and shaped to resemble a little castle," such as children make at the beach, 1838, from sand (n.) + castle (n.). Also figurative of impermanence.

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sand-fly (n.)

"small blood-sucking fly or biting midge," applied variously in different parts of the New World, by 1748, from sand (n.) + fly (n.). Sand-flea is by 1796.

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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-dollar (n.)

type of flat sea-urchin, 1884, so called for its shape; see sand (n.) + dollar (n.). Cake-urchin (1853) and sand cake were other old names for it.

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