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I want to describe a "volume(for lack of a better word)" of sand which was flung at someone. If it is thrown by hand, then it becomes a "handful of sand" but what if I use something else ? and the quantity is not a handful but more ?

e.g. The camel dug his limbs into the sand and that inadvertent motion flung a ______ of sand towards them.

It need not necessarily be a single word, but I could not find any other matching tag.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Feb 26 '17 at 19:44
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As suggested by John Lawler:

shower

  1. A fall of a group of objects, especially from the sky: a meteor shower; a shower of leaves. (thefreedictionary.com)

Your example:

The camel dug his hooves into the sand and inadvertently flung a shower of sand in our direction.

Alternatively:

As the camels galloped past, their hooves kicked up [or sprayed] a shower of sand and we had to shield our eyes.

Fun, short video of racing camels (you can see the little sprays of sand kicked up by each hoof): https://youtu.be/QogcOenbjM0

They have remote controlled mechanical jockeys!

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a quantity of sand, meaning any quantity of sand
a flurry of sand, meaning a small swirling mass of sand
a swirl of sand, meaning a quantity of sand moving in a swirling motion
a spray of sand, meaning a moving mass of particles of sand

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    Spray is good. // A lot of folks here will like your answers better if you provide some documentation. – aparente001 Feb 25 '17 at 17:59
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Without being concerned with its physical consistency, you could use a word like blast. Blast, as a noun, is often used to mean a sudden violent gust of air but could also mean any sudden expulsion or eruption of something. This can include a loud sound, a whistle, or a projectile ("The assault was over with a final blast of fire from the torch.")

The camel dug his limbs into the sand and that inadvertent motion flung a blast of sand towards them.

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The word you'd want would depend on whether the sand was a packed / dense chunk, or a more diffuse shower. Assuming a harder, denser bunch of sand, I'd go with clod.

1 a : a lump or mass especially of earth or clay

b : soil, earth

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    Clod is only for things that stick together in a clump. Sand doesn't do that. When you make sand castles at the beach, you see that sand only sticks together if it's got the right amount of moisture and if you're quite gentle with it. – aparente001 Feb 25 '17 at 0:03
  • @aparente001 Clod is only for things that stick together in a clump You just gave the circumstance where sand does that. When moist. Especially when muddy or slimy. I do take your point, insofar as it won't form a reliable solid you could use to repeatedly bludgeon someone over the head, but you can scoop up a handful of the stuff, throw it at someone, and have the result hit them as a single, painful lump all at once. – Parthian Shot Feb 25 '17 at 1:09
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    I've never lived in an arid region, but my image of places where camels live is that it is rather dry most of the time. – aparente001 Feb 25 '17 at 1:35
  • Camels can live anywhere they've been transported. Their native habitat is irrelevant. Beach camel rides are a thing. I have no idea what the surrounding context was for the sentence the OP gave. – Parthian Shot Feb 27 '17 at 4:22
  • Okay, they can, but how often do they? I thought camels had evolved to live successfully in arid climates. Have they really been transplated in significant numbers to other sorts of climates? Your comment reminds me of the saying, "Zebra is the American medical slang for arriving at an exotic medical diagnosis when a more commonplace explanation is more likely" (Wikipedia). – aparente001 Feb 27 '17 at 8:02

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