Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


someone who lives in the Australian state of Western Australia

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary

Origin and usage

The compound noun sandgroper is formed from the nouns ‘sand’ and ‘groper’, meaning someone who gropes, or uses their hands to search for something. The term dates from the late 19th century.


One of the joys of Macmillan’s crowdsourced Open Dictionary is coming across words you have never encountered before. One such for me is sandgroper, added recently to the Open Dictionary by a user from Australia. The term is not new – it has been around since the end of the 19th century – but it was completely new to me. A sandgroper is also a kind of insect related to crickets and grasshoppers that spends its life underground. Sandgropers are found in most of Australia as well as in Argentina and New Guinea, but the colloquial name for Western Australians does not seem to derive from these insects. Rather, it alludes either to the vast quantities of sand found in this enormous state, or to the gold prospectors who flocked there in the late 19th century. The Macmillan Thesaurus has an entry for words from people from specific towns or cities which you can explore here. You can add a word or phrase to the Open Dictionary here.


In the last round of the championship Western Australian John Zappia took victory over fellow sandgroper Robin Judd and leap frogged Victorian Peter Kapiris into the lead.
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Karen and Georgina are two passionate sandgropers who live in the Perth hills.
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Sandgropers live a subterranean existence feeding on the roots of plants at depths up to 1.5m.
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Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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