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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
  • Ruthless, perhaps, but on the tenure track you can't afford to stop for a dip in pools of quicksand.
  • The pipe sinks into the quicksand, which eventually compacts, leaving no trace of the buried pipe.
  • In the past year, however, the middle ground has begun to resemble quicksand.
  • If stumbling into quicksand ranks on your list of worries, don't panic.
  • With a swift current and quicksand in spots, it can be difficult to navigate.
  • Eventually his innocence is established and the husband dies when he sinks into a bed of quicksand.
  • One by one, the intrepid hunters are killed off by quicksand, stock-footage dinosaurs and other such impediments to progress.
  • Giving a transformational presidential speech while trapped in politically toxic quicksand is no easy task.
  • Beneath the surface crust, which is comparatively shallow, lies a quagmire of quicksand.
  • Disembarking a boat in these areas can be dangerous as the muddy lake floor can act as quicksand.
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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