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sandman

[sand-man] /ˈsændˌmæn/
noun, plural sandmen.
1.
the man who, in fairy tales or folklore, puts sand in the eyes of children to make them sleepy.
Origin
1860-1865
1860-65; sand + man1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for sand men

sandman

/ˈsændˌmæn/
noun (pl) -men
1.
(in folklore) a magical person supposed to put children to sleep by sprinkling sand in their eyes
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 sand men

sandman

n.

bringer of sleep in nursery lore, 1861, from sand (n.) in reference to hard grains found in the eyelashes on waking; first attested in a translation from the Norwegian of Andersen (his Ole Lukoie "Ole Shut-eye," about a being who makes children sleepy, came out 1842), and perhaps partly from German Sandmann. More common in U.S.; dustman with the same sense is attested from 1821.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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