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[sand-bag] /ˈsændˌbæg/
a bag filled with sand, used in fortification, as ballast, etc.
such a bag used as a weapon.
verb (used with object), sandbagged, sandbagging.
to furnish with sandbags.
to hit or stun with a sandbag.
  1. to set upon violently; attack from or as if from ambush.
  2. to coerce or intimidate, as by threats:
    The election committee was sandbagged into nominating the officers for a second term.
  3. to thwart or cause to fail or be rejected, especially surreptitiously or without warning:
    He sandbagged our proposal with his snide remarks to the boss.
  1. Poker. to deceive (one or more opponents) into remaining in the pot by refraining from betting on a strong hand, then raising the bet in a later round.
  2. Informal. to gain an advantage over (one or more competitors) by concealing one's abilities or other strengths early in a game or other competitive activity.
  3. Informal. to gain an advantage by concealing or downplaying the strengths of (something):
    companies that sandbag their earnings estimates and then easily beat them to make everyone happy.
verb (used without object), sandbagged, sandbagging.
  1. Poker. to sandbag one or more opponents.
  2. Informal. to sandbag an opponent or competitor:
    guys that sandbag and fall back a little in the first race to get a better starting spot in the second.
Origin of sandbag
1580-90; sand + bag
Related forms
sandbagger, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sandbagging
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Perhaps he thought their question merely a footpad's introduction to a sandbagging episode.

    Excuse Me! Rupert Hughes
  • sandbagging, binding, and pistoling had all failed to lift him to such a height of resentment at this.

    Rayton: A Backwoods Mystery Theodore Goodridge Roberts
  • There are half-breed rascals in the port who wouldn't hesitate about sandbagging or stabbing you for a few dollars.

    The Coast of Adventure Harold Bindloss
British Dictionary definitions for sandbagging


a sack filled with sand used for protection against gunfire, floodwater, etc, or as ballast in a balloon, ship, etc
a bag filled with sand and used as a weapon
verb (transitive) -bags, -bagging, -bagged
to protect or strengthen with sandbags
to hit with or as if with a sandbag
(finance) to obstruct (an unwelcome takeover bid) by prolonging talks in the hope that an acceptable bidder will come forward
Derived Forms
sandbagger, noun
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 sandbagging



1580s, from sand (n.) + bag (n.).


1860, "furnish with sandbags," from sandbag (n.). Meaning "pretend weakness," 1970s perhaps is extended from poker-playing sense of "refrain from raising at the first opportunity in hopes of raising more steeply later" (1940), which perhaps is from sandbagger in the sense of "bully or ruffian who uses a sandbag as a weapon to knock his intended victim unconscious" (1882). Hence "to fell or stun with a blow from a sandbag" (1887). Related: Sandbagged; sandbagging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sandbagging



A type of life preserver (WWII Navy)


  1. To attack someone viciously, esp with a blackjack or similar bludgeon; bushwhack: I was sandbagged from behind (1887+)
  2. To intimidate; cow; bulldoze: Persuasion didn't work, so they tried to sandbag her (1901+)
  3. To check and then to raise the bet (1940+ Gambling)
  4. To pretend weakness or ineptitude; mislead an opponent by apparent inferiority: He charged that the Aussies were ''sand bagging'' (deliberately losing) to take the limelight off their disputed keel (1970s+)
  5. To drive a hot rod very fast (1950s+ Hot rodders)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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