What Does Go Pound Sand Mean?

Go Pound Sand Meaning

Definition: Go away; do something pointless; screw off.

The idiom go pound sand is an expression of contempt that often means, “Go away.” It also refers to a pointless activity. The idiom originated in American English. Native English speakers in other parts of the world are unfamiliar with it and do not use it.

Origin of Go Pound Sand

An 1896 publication called Student Slang defines pound sand as:

…not to know enough…to be hopelessly stupid.

While the connection to pointless activities is clear, the idiom does not have the exact meaning as it does here.

what does pound sand meanThe modern meanings of go pound sand originated in the 20th century. A 1948 edition of the Southeast Economist states:

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.

This suggests that the meaning of the phrase had only recently changed into an expression of contempt and was only just becoming popular around this time. It also implies this variation of the idiom meant something else entirely.

what does the expression pound sand meanThere are several vulgar versions of this idiom, including go pound salt up your ass and go pound sand up your ass. Max Yasgur, the man who hosted the famous Woodstock festival in 1969, reportedly told the local authorities:

Well, you can all go pound sand up your ass, because come August 15, we’re going to have a festival!

According to Google Ngrams data, this phrase started to be used with much greater frequency in the late 1980s and 1990s.

meaning of go pound sand

Examples of Go Pound Sand

Schoolboys Timmy and Johnny are fighting on the playground at recess. Their argument shows how native speakers might use go pound sand.

Timmy: You’re ugly.

Johnny: You’re dumb.

Timmy: Go pound sand!

Johnny: Fine. I’m not stupid enough to fight with you anyway.


The English idiom go pound sand is an expression of contempt. English speakers may use it to tell another person to go away, or to encourage one to engage in a pointless activity.