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The meaning and origin of the expression: Go pound sand

Go pound sand

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Go pound sand'?

'Go pound sand' is an American expression of disdain, along the same lines as 'get lost', 'go and play in the traffic', etc.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Go pound sand'?

This is sometimes used with the intention of meaning 'go and beat/whack sand' - with the back of a shovel or similar. That's not the original meaning though, as is made clear from the longer and less-often used version of the phrase - 'go pound sand up your ass'.

The phrase originated in the US and although common there, especially the midwest states, it is scarcely use anywhere else. I've never heard anyone say it in England, where I live.

The expression dates from the late 19th century. The earliest example of it that I can find in print is in The Minnesota newspaper The Saint Paul Globe, August 1886:

I have always umpired base ball from the grand stand... Nothing affords me more pleasure now than to sit on a hard board in the grand stand and devote my time yelling, "Kill him!" "Cut his feet off." "Aw, go pound sand" and other rhetorical gems at the umpire.

Go pound sandA celebrated use of the expression is from the speech that farmer Max Yasgur used it when arguing with local dignitaries over his bringing the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival to his farm in Bethal, New York, saying:

"Well, you can all go pound salt up your ass, because come Aug. 15, we're going to have a festival!"

There's also a less vulgar version, 'go pound sand in your ears'.

Here's an entry from the Southeast Economist, Chicago, 1948:

"From her store of memories Mrs. Mary R. Stuart of Harvard Ave, perpetrator of this column of sayings of wisecracks popular in the 'Oh yeah?' era, recalls that 'go pound sand in your ears' meant to soft-pedal the noise."

Other "go' phrases:

Go and boil your head

Go berserk

Go by the board

Go by the book

Go Dolally


Go for a burton

Go haywire

Go like the clappers

Go off half-cocked

Go out on a limb

Go postal

Go over like a lead balloon

Go the whole hog

Go to hell in a handbasket

Go to pot

Go to the dogs

Go to the foot of our stairs

Go to the mattresses

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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