Green’s Dictionary of Slang

sandbag v.1

[i.e. to hit with a SE sandbag]

1. to ambush, to take by surprise.

Dental Register 43 397: Mudge— ‘For heaven's sake, Bosworth, have you been sandbagged or in a railway accident?’.
Clay-worker 17-18 677: JOHN McCAlN SANDBAGGED. While on his way home [...] John McCain, the well known brick manufacturer of Denver, was way-laid by thieves, who tried to ‘slug’ him. The blow aimed at his head landed on his neck.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 10 Feb. 5/5: A money-lender [is] accused of hiring a horse-trainer to vulgarly ‘sand-bag’ a girl and drown her.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 84: Thought you’d been sandbagged and thrown into the bay.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 31 Aug. 8/3: There’s rows and ructions / Goin’ on about Hyde Park, / Tellin’ of sand-baggin’ cases, / Pluggin’ in there after dark.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 217: Somebody who had already greased the police had been sandbagged in error.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe on the Job 8: Well, you ain’t been sandbagged or jabbed with a poison needle yet.
Smith’s Wkly 22 Mar. 10/4: [headline] The Hidden Hand. / Attempt to Sandbag ’Car’ / Political Rough-House Tactics.
[US]Hecht & Bodenheim Cutie 62: Before anybody could sandbag her she had run the hat pin into Cutie’s left chest.
[US]Phila. Eve. Bulletin 5 Oct. 40/4: Here are a few more terms and definitions from the ‘Racket’ vocabulary: [...] ‘sand-bag,’ to knock out.
[Aus]A. Russell Gone Nomad 55: Knuckle-dusting, sandbagging—and being sandbagged—were the recreations and excitements of [...] the inhabitants.
[UK]S. Lister Mistral Hotel (1951) 68: What did you expect me to do? Come and sandbag you and drag you down by force?
[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 47: sand bag – To be taken; falsely used and robbed.
[US]E. Torres Q&A 118: They’ll use him to sandbag me.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 92: We’re gonna sandbag this bastard!
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Jungletown Jihad’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 362: He sandbagged me. Have Tim put a stationary tail on his office.

2. to cheat, to trick.

[US]Ade Artie (1963) 64: Even if he does sandbag a few o’ them rich blokies what’s the diff?
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘A Service of Love’ in Four Million (1915) 60: Old gentlemen with thin side-whiskers and thick pocket-books would sandbag one another in his studio for the privilege of buying.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 254: He sandbags now not because he really wants to, but because he cannot help himself.
[US]O.O. McIntyre White Light Nights 147: This polite form of sandbagging is a tax on fear—the inherent New Yorkish ‘fear of the uniform’.
[US]S. Lewis World So Wide 49: When you looked at Tessie Weepswell you did not see a woman of sixty but the glove-soft credulous girl who had been sandbagged by the Honourable Orlando.

3. to get rid of.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 20 Oct. 5/7: They sandbag editors for less - Servia!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Nov. 10/4: How about sand-bagging the traditional ‘Little Boy from Manly’ on the figurehead of Australia? His is out-of-date, and, anyhow, he never was Australian.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 6: sandbagged – thrown out of your room so that your roomate can be with his or her girlfriend or boyfriend.

4. (US) to intimidate.

[US]D. Hammett ‘The Gatewood Caper’ Story Omnibus (1966) 137: He had made his several millions by sandbagging everybody that stood in his way.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 63: There had been no lightening up of the eye, no answering pressure of the palm [...] The fellow seemed sand-bagged.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 26: Ostrava was no friend and would use whatever he could get his hands on to sandbag Tillman come contract time.

5. to extort.

[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 4 Nov. [synd. col.] De Witt has chopped down [...] every type of phoney who has tried to sandbag coin from a newspaper.

In compounds

sandbag artist (n.)

an extortionist.

[US]C.B. Booth ‘Mr Clacksworthy Tells the Truth’ Detective Story 19 Oct. [Internet] You’re gonna grab some coin from th’ sandbag artists what makes th’ long sufferin’ public dig down for eight Lincolns for th’ priv’lege of havin’ their shoes massaged by their fellow passengers.
US Congress Hearings (Senate) 216: It was just a plain steal from the Government; robbery; a sandbag artist is not any more guilty than this concern was.