What is the verb for applying a sandpaper? Or sandpaper itself is a verb? Possible candidates for me is apply, imply, use. Also, may I say that I smoothen something with a sandpaper.

  • 3
    Note that "sandpaper" is an uncountable noun. I have some sandpaper. I have 3 sheets of sandpaper. But "I have a sandpaper" is incorrect
    – John Feltz
    Dec 2 '16 at 5:38
  • 1
    One minor note: Smoothen is very rare and old-fashioned in American English; we would just say smooth as in use sandpaper to smooth the surface or I smoothed the wood with sandpaper.
    – 1006a
    Dec 2 '16 at 18:43

What you're looking for is sand. Merriam-Webster defines this verb as:

to smooth or dress by grinding or rubbing with an abrasive (as sandpaper)

So in an example sentence like "You should use sandpaper on that block," it would be:

You should sand that block.

  • or use "sand down" to remove some ambiguity. Dec 2 '16 at 13:45
  • 1
    @rackandboneman "Sand down" is only really used if there's a particular protrusion you're interested in removing by sanding. If it's a general smoothing/polishing you're after, it's just "sand": "sand down" would be out of place.
    – R.M.
    Dec 2 '16 at 15:37
  • @R.M.: No, actually "sand down" can mean either.
    – psmears
    Dec 2 '16 at 15:40
  • 2
    "Sand down" could be somewhat ambiguous to a woodworker as it's normally only used to mean removing imperfections or thinning / shaping (of some form). "Sanding" doesn't imply imperfections to the final form as it can be qualified as needed.
    – Rycochet
    Dec 2 '16 at 16:27
  • A rough surface is riddled with particular protrusions that have to be turned into non-protruding particles, that tend to end up on the floor, thus "down" :) Dec 5 '16 at 8:23

The definition of sandpaper reveals a couple of verbs that go with it.


paper covered on one side with abrasive material (as sand) glued fast and used for smoothing and polishing.

(Smoothen or polish something using a sandpaper)

stiff paper that has a rough surface on one side and that is rubbed against something (such as a piece of wood) to make it smooth.

(Rub a sandpaper against a surface to smoothen it)

In fact, you can use sandpaper itself as a transitive verb. You can sandpaper(v) a surface and make it smooth.

Depending on the purpose of the sandpaper, you could use abrade.

to rub or wear away especially by friction

You can also scour or scrape a surface using sandpaper.


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