1 : to bank, stop up, or weight with sandbags
2 a : to hit or stun with or as if with a sandbag
b : to treat unfairly or harshly
c : to coerce by crude means
d : to conceal or misrepresent one's true position, potential, or intent especially in order to take advantage over : to hide the truth about oneself so as to gain an advantage over another
Did You Know?
In the 19th century, the verb sandbag began to be used to describe the act of bludgeoning someone with a small, sand-filled bag—a tactic employed by ruffians, usually as a prelude to robbing their victims. The verb went on to develop metaphorical extensions, such as "to coerce by crude means." By the 1940s, it was being used of a strategy in which a poker player with a good hand bets weakly, in order to draw other players into holding on to their hands and raising the bet. The use of sandbag has since evolved to refer to a general strategy of playing down one's position in order to gain some sort of advantage.
Management must have realized that reading employee survey responses aloud at the company-wide meeting would make employees feel sandbagged, but they chose to do it anyway.
"Lock's season began with Heisman Trophy dreams. It has detoured toward a familiar and unfortunate destination, the place where the quarterback's career numbers are sandbagged by his struggles when the spotlight shines." — Ben Frederickson, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 3 Nov. 2018
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to complete a word that refers to language that is used to deceive through concealment or misrepresentation of truth: _ o _ _ l _ s _ ea _.VIEW THE ANSWER
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