noun, plural sand·men.
- the man who, in fairy tales or folklore, puts sand in the eyes of children to make them sleepy.
noun plural -men
- (in folklore) a magical person supposed to put children to sleep by sprinkling sand in their eyes
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.