Pronunciation Noun

sand (uncountable)

  1. (uncountable) Rock that is ground more finely than gravel, but is not as fine as silt (more formally, see grain sizes chart), forming beaches and deserts and also used in construction.
    • 2018, The Guardian, "Riddle of the sands: the truth behind stolen beaches and dredged islands"
      We are addicted to sand but don't know it because we don't buy it as individuals, ―
    • 2018, The Guardian, "Riddle of the sands: the truth behind stolen beaches and dredged islands"
      China's hunger for sand is insatiable, its biggest dredging site at Lake Poyang produces 989,000 tonnes per day.
  2. (countable, often in the plural) A beach or other expanse of sand.
    The Canadian tar sands are a promising source of oil.
  3. (uncountable, dated, circa 1920) Personal courage.
  4. (uncountable, geology) A particle from 62.5 microns to 2 mm in diameter, following the Wentworth scale.
  5. A light beige colour, like that of typical sand.
  6. (countable, obsolete) A single grain of sand.
  7. (countable, figurative) A moment or interval of time; the term or extent of one's life (referring to the sand in an hourglass).
    • c. 1591–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Third Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act 1, scene iv]:
      The sands are numbered that make up my life.


  1. Of a light beige colour, like that of typical sand.

sand (sands, present participle sanding; past and past participle sanded)

  1. (transitive) To abrade the surface of (something) with sand or sandpaper in order to smooth or clean it.
  2. (transitive) To cover with sand.
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1943, Chapter IX, page 141,
      Sudden stopping, which could be effected easily by sanding the rails and reversing the driving-gear, was dangerous, because the train might telescope and overwhelm the engine.
    • 1958, Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago, translated by Max Hayward and Manya Harari, New York: Pantheon, Chapter 4, page 96,
      The golden domes of churches and the freshly sanded paths in the town gardens were a glaring yellow.
  3. (transitive, historical) To blot ink using sand.

sand (plural sands)

  1. (colloquial) A sandpiper.

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