from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Sand that is mixed with water in a collected mass and yields easily to pressure so that objects on its surface tend to sink and become engulfed.
  • noun A place or situation into which entry can be swift and sudden but from which extrication can be difficult or impossible.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A movable sand-bank in a sea, lake, or river; a large mass of loose or moving sand mixed with water formed on many sea-coasts, at the mouths and in the channels of rivers, etc., sometimes dangerous to vessels, and especially to travelers.
  • To catch in a quicksand.
  • To cover with quicksands: as, a quicksanded coast.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Sand easily moved or readily yielding to pressure; especially, a deep mass of loose or moving sand mixed with water, sometimes found at the mouth of a river or along some coasts, and very dangerous, from the difficulty of extricating a person who begins sinking into it.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Wet sand that things readily sink in, often found near rivers or coasts
  • noun Anything that pulls one down or buries one metaphorically

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a treacherous situation that tends to entrap and destroy
  • noun a pit filled with loose wet sand into which objects are sucked down


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English quyksond, living sand : quick, quyk, living; see quick + sand, sond, sand; see sand.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English quyksande, from Old English cwecesand ("quicksand"), from Proto-Germanic *kwikwaz (“living, active”) + Proto-Germanic *samdaz, *samdan (“sand”), equivalent to quick (“living”) +‎ sand. Cognate with Dutch kwikzand ("quicksand"), German Quicksand ("quicksand"), Icelandic kwiksandur, kviksyndi ("quicksand"). More at quick, sand.


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  • Because quicksand is so viscous, it's difficult for air to penetrate it.

    Boing Boing 2009

  • In fact, one of the true dangers of quicksand is exhaustion.

    Boing Boing 2009

  • Getting unstuck from quicksand is really a Vulcan-esque endeavor, requiring rationality, intelligence and emotional distance.

    Boing Boing 2009

  • Do this, and you're liable to end up thinking that quicksand is something that only happens in the jungle or the desert, and that the average patch has no discernible bottom.

    Boing Boing 2009

  • Some of these people make me think of someone who, while they are going down in quicksand, refuse the rope you throw them because it hurts their hands.

    CNN Poll: Americans worry Obama health care plan will increase costs 2009

  • Meaning that, under normal circumstances, a person in quicksand should really just bob around like buoy on the ocean.

    Boing Boing 2009

  • In recent years, one local farmer and one from a neighboring community suffocated in quicksand-like grain bins.

    Some workers face danger for our convenience 2010

  • It was the Nuggets who looked like they were stuck in quicksand by game's end. 2008

  • You're going to need to be patient; depending on how much quicksand is around you, it could take several minutes or even hours to slowly, methodically get yourself out.

    Archive 2007-09-01 2007

  • If you're stuck in quicksand, frantic movements will only hurt your cause.

    Archive 2007-09-01 2007


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  • Oh! I love the etymology for this.

    July 12, 2012