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[kwik-sand] /ˈkwɪkˌsænd/
a bed of soft or loose sand saturated with water and having considerable depth, yielding under weight and therefore tending to suck down any object resting on its surface.
Origin of quicksand
1275-1325; Middle English qwykkesand. See quick, sand
Related forms
quicksandy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for quicksand
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • These tiny lumps of ice pile up around a traveller, and when he tries to push onward he sinks as though in a bed of quicksand.

    Prince Jan, St. Bernard Forrestine C. Hooker
  • The boys will think a quicksand has swallowed us, and no one will be sleeping there at Soledad.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • In some parts every trace of path is smothered by sand, and quicksand also must be warily avoided.

    Southern Arabia Theodore Bent
  • That green strip of willow is the edge of a quicksand where no one knows the depth.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • The swamp would swallow a man as quickly as if he fell into quicksand.

  • She had married the solid Hermie, and he had turned out to be quicksand.

    Gigolo Edna Ferber
British Dictionary definitions for quicksand


a deep mass of loose wet sand that submerges anything on top of it
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for quicksand

c.1300, from Middle English quyk "living" (see quick (adj.)) + sond "sand" (see sand (n.)). Old English had cwecesund, but this might have meant "lively strait of water."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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quicksand in Science
A deep bed of loose, smoothly rounded sand grains, saturated with water and forming a soft, shifting mass that yields easily to pressure and tends to engulf objects resting on its surface. Although it is possible for a person to drown while mired in quicksand, the human body is less dense than any quicksand and is thus not drawn or sucked beneath the surface as is sometimes popularly believed.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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