sand-blind /gravel-blind

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Jan 26 21:46:39 UTC 2010

An interesting juxtaposition of "sand" and "gravel" in the
Shakespeare.  Does that suggest that "sandblind" did NOT come from
"sam" or "semi" blind?  No, it seems:  the OED claims "gravel-blind"
is "Orig. high-gravel-blind, in Shakes. a jocular intensive synonym
for SAND-BLIND. Hence used by later writers for 'nearly
stone-blind'." and gives the same MofV quote.  (Reminds me of the
discussion of "mote" and "beam".)

For "sandblind, the OED's etymology seems a little ambivalent -- one
the one hand, sam- = semi, half.  On the other, "Cf. Johnson's
explanation: 'Having a defect in the eyes, by which small particles
appear to fly before them'.", for which "small particles" suggests
sand.  Or does "cf." in the OED mean what "attributed in" means in
the YBQ -- "probably incorrect"?


At 1/26/2010 04:24 PM, Robin Hamilton wrote:
>>>I'd guess the former (I seem to recall it comes up in Shakespeare
>>>somewhere), but I *am guessing.
>>Merchant of Venice, Act II, Scene II:
>>Launcelot Gobbo: ... this is my true-begotten father, who being more
>>than sand-blind, high-gravel blind, knows me not ...
>Thanks, Arnold, that was the quote I was ineffectually trying to remember.
>MV isn't published till the folio of 1623, but was probably written and
>staged about 1599, give or take a couple of years either way.  So (FWIW)
>about eight years after the (mis-dated by a year in the OED) Greene use of
>"stone blind" in ConeyCatching2.
>"Daddy's more than sand-blind [but less than stone-blind] -- he's
>high-gravel blind."
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list