sand

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bring sand to the beach

To do or undertake something redundant, pointless, or futile, usually in the context of bringing something to a location where it is abundant or unnecessary. The company always caters lunch for these meetings, so I don't know why you bring in your own sandwich. You might as well bring sand to the beach!
See also: beach, bring, sand

build (something) on sand

To create, provide, or use an unstable or impermanent foundation for something, such as a building, business, or relationship. It is taken from a parable in the Bible (Matthew 7:24–27 and Luke 6:46–49) in which Jesus warns that those who do not follow Him build their lives as houses on sand, liable to be washed away by the elements. In hindsight, I guess our relationship was kind of built on sand, since we didn't really have much in common to begin with. Without proper financing, you'll end up building your business on sand!
See also: build, on, sand

have (one's) head in the sand

To refuse to acknowledge or deal with problems, danger, or difficulty, especially in the hopes that they will resolve themselves. The phrase is a reference to ostriches, which were believed (incorrectly) to hide their heads in the ground at the sight of approaching danger. Your department clearly has its head in the sand regarding this security breach! You can't just always have your head in the sand whenever you're confronted with a problem in your relationship.
See also: have, head, sand

a line in the sand

A figurative boundary that someone or some group refuses to cross or beyond which no further advance or compromise is accepted. (Used especially in the phrase "draw a line in the sand.") The allocation of this new tax to pay for building schools has become a line in the sand for the governor's administration. I don't mind my roommate being a bit messy, but leaving dirty dishes for me to clean up is where I draw a line in the sand!
See also: line, sand

go pound sand

To go and engage in pointless, menial efforts or labor. Used as an imperative to express disdain, contempt, or dismissal. I can't believe Sam told his teacher to go pound sand. Where does that kid get such attitude? Charles, why don't you go pound sand instead of coming around here hassling me about my business?
See also: pound, sand

pound sand

To engage in pointless, menial efforts or labor. Used especially as an imperative to express disdain, contempt, or dismissal. I can't believe Sam told his teacher to go pound sand. Where does that kid get such attitude? Charles, why don't you pound sand instead of coming around here hassling me about my business?
See also: pound, sand

have enough sense to pound sand

To have a basic level of competence, intelligence, or common sense. Used most often in the negative to imply that someone lacks even that. I lost my faith in the political process when I realized that the people getting voted into Washington don't have enough sense to pound sand. That boy doesn't have sense enough to pound sand. What makes you think he'll be able to fix your computer?
See also: enough, have, pound, sand, sense

bury (one's) head in the sand

To avoid, or try to avoid, a particular situation by pretending that it does not exist. The phrase refers to the common but mistaken belief that ostriches bury their heads in the sand when frightened, so as to avoid being seen. Lou, you can't bury your head in the sand about your health—please, make an appointment with your doctor and get that rash checked out! A: "How has Peter been handling the break-up?" B: "Oh, just burying his head in the sand and ignoring his feelings."
See also: bury, head, sand

plow the sands

To do something that seems futile. I know that I'm just plowing the sands by telling you to stay away from that boy, but I'm your father, and I don't want to see you get hurt. That couch will never fit up the steps—tell them to stop plowing the sands!
See also: plow, sand

rope of sand

Something that is not as strong or stable as it seems. Yes, you're a fool to trust him, and this allegiance will soon prove to be a rope of sand. I thought I finally had a strong bond with my mother, but it was just a rope of sand—she's left us once again.
See also: of, rope, sand

sands are running out

There is a limited amount of time before something happens. The phrase refers to an hourglass, in which sand trickles from the top of the hourglass to the bottom through an opening until it has run out. The sands are running out—if she doesn't move out of that neighborhood, she'll be the next victim of a violent crime. I know that picking a college is a big decision, but the sands are running out.
See also: out, running, sand

be built on sand

To be unstable. A relationship based entirely on physical attraction is built on sand and won't last long.
See also: built, on, sand

bury one's head in the sand

 and hide one's head in the sand; have one's head in the sand
Fig. to ignore or hide from obvious signs of danger. (Alludes to an ostrich, which is believed incorrectly to hide its head in a hole in the ground when it sees danger.) Stop burying your head in the sand. Look at the statistics on smoking and cancer.
See also: bury, head, sand

draw a line in the sand

Fig. to create or declare an artificial boundary and imply that crossing it will cause trouble. Todd drew a line in the sand by giving his roommate an ultimatum about his sloppiness—he had to start cleaning up after himself or move out.
See also: draw, line, sand

sand something down

 
1. to make something smooth by rubbing it with sandpaper. (To act on the main body of the object, not the imperfections.) You should sand the board down before you paint it. Please sand down the board.
2. to remove bumps or imperfections on the surface of something by rubbing them with sandpaper. (To act on the imperfections, not the main body of the object.) Sand these bumps down, will you? Sand down these bumps, please.
See also: down, sand

sands of time

Fig. the accumulated tiny amounts of time; time represented by the sand in an hourglass. The sands of time will make you grow old like everyone else. My only enemy is the sands of time.
See also: of, sand, time

hide your head in the sand

also stick your head in the sand
to refuse to think about an unpleasant situation Teachers can't just hide their heads in the sand and not try to find out why students aren't doing better.
Usage notes: also used with bury and other verbs: All Olivia wanted to do was bury her head in the sand and forget everything.
See also: head, hide, sand

draw a line in the sand

also draw the line in the sand
to say that a particular idea or activity will not be supported or accepted The president has drawn a line in the sand, which means that if the foreign troops are not removed, they will be attacked.
Etymology: based on the idea of literally making a mark in sand to show someone they cannot move across it
See also: draw, line, sand

be built on sand

if something is built on sand, it is not firmly established and is likely to fail They seem quite happy now but I have a feeling that this marriage is built on sand.
See also: built, on, sand

bury your head in the sand

to refuse to think about an unpleasant situation, hoping that it will improve so that you will not have to deal with it Parents said bullying was being ignored, and accused the headmaster of burying his head in the sand.
See also: bury, head, sand

build on sand

Use an unstable foundation, as in If you buy nothing but high-risk stocks, your portfolio will be built on sand. This metaphor appears in the New Testament, where Jesus likens those who do not heed his sayings to a foolish man who builds his house on sand, which then is washed away by rain, flood, and wind (Matthew 7:24-27). [c. 1600]
See also: build, on, sand

hide one's head in the sand

Also, bury one's head in the sand. Refuse to face something by pretending not to see it. For example, For years we have been hiding our heads in the sand, refusing to admit that the store is losing money , or When it comes to a family quarrel, Dean just buries his head in the sand. This expression, transferred to human behavior in the early 1600s, alludes to the belief that ostriches burrow in sand thinking they will not be seen because they cannot see. In fact, however, when they do this, they are consuming sand and gravel to aid their digestive system.
See also: head, hide, sand

sand

n. sugar. Do you use sand in your coffee?

build on sand

To provide with an unstable foundation: Having bought only high-risk stocks, my portfolio was built on sand.
See also: build, on, sand
References in classic literature ?
On 6 July we finished taking in cargo, silver sand and boxes of earth.
He went off sulking, but more sheepishly than I had expected-- perhaps he had been shaken by his fall--and I watched the star of sand splashed on his back receding down the road with a horrid vindictive pleasure.
In attempting to lift it from its burying place I dis-covered that it seemed to be held fast by means of a very small insulated cable running farther into the sand beneath it.
He pointed toward a fragment that had evidently fallen from the summit of the cliff and which now lay imbedded in the sand a few feet from the base.
Walking beyond the line of trees they saw before them a fearful, dismal desert, everywhere gray sand.
As for the yellow hen, she continued to peck away at the sand busily, and seemed quite contented with her bill-of-fare.
When the sun withdraws the sand ceases to flow, but in the morning the streams will start once more and branch and branch again into a myriad of others.
Something draws me to it," says the girl, making images with her finger in the sand.
For a moment his countenance darkened with the most inextinguishable hatred and ferocity, and then, as if inwardly admonished how little time he had to lose, he staggered to the edge of the sands, and halted with his feet in the water.
The sun had just set, the sea breeze was rustling and tumbling in the woods and ruffling the grey surface of the anchorage; the tide, too, was far out, and great tracts of sand lay uncovered; the air, after the heat of the day, chilled me through my jacket.
He was so tired that he flopped down upon the nice soft sand on the floor of the rabbit-hole, and shut his eyes.
Find it he did, soon after dawn, and not far from the sand pits.
The greatest number in my experience was a hundred and thirty of such crosses from the pilot station at the Sand Heads in the Bay of Bengal to the Scilly's light.
Accordingly, the directors of that institution consulted many persons who were supposed to know what steps should be taken, and it was finally decided that the best protection against fire--which is what was feared--was not water but sand.
Barely a few dwarf plants could now be noticed, like those on the wild heaths of Scotland; then came the first tract of grayish sand and flint, with here and there a lentisk tree and brambles.