Sand-men

sandman

[sand-man]
noun, plural sandmen.
the man who, in fairy tales or folklore, puts sand in the eyes of children to make them sleepy.

Origin:
1860–65; sand + man1

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World English Dictionary
sandman (ˈsændˌmæn)
 
n , pl -men
(in folklore) a magical person supposed to put children to sleep by sprinkling sand in their eyes

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

sandman
bringer of sleep in nursery lore, 1861, from sand in ref. to hard grains found in the eyelashes on waking; first attested in a translation of Andersen, and perhaps from Ger. Sandmann or a translation of Norw. Ole Lukoie "Olaf Shuteye"), more common in Amer.Eng.; dustman with the same sense is attested
from 1821.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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