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sponge someone or something down

to remove the [excess] moisture from someone or something; to wipe someone or something with a sponge. The fight manager sponged his boxer down. I will sponge down the countertop.
See also: down, sponge

sponge something away

to absorb, wipe up, and wipe away something, as with a sponge. Try sponging the stain away with some soda water. I will sponge away the mess.
See also: away, sponge

sponge something from someone

to beg or borrow money or food from someone. Gary tried to sponge a few bucks from me. I can't continue sponging food from my relatives.
See also: sponge

sponge something from something

to remove moisture from something, as with a sponge. Liz sponged the sauce from her blouse. We gently sponged the splattered paint from the carpet.
See also: sponge

sponge something off of someone or something

 and sponge something off
to beg or borrow money or food from someone or a group. Please stop sponging food and money off your relatives! Stop sponging off food and money all the time!
See also: of, off, sponge

sponge something up

to absorb or take up moisture, as with a sponge. I had to sponge the spilled milk up from the floor, the chair, the table, and the baby. What a mess! Liz sponged up the water.
See also: sponge, up

throw in the towel

 and throw in the sponge; toss in the sponge
Fig. (From boxing, where this is done by a boxer's trainer to stop the fight.) to signal that one is going to quit; to quit. When John could stand no more of Mary's bad temper, he threw in the towel and left. Don't give up now! It's too soon to throw in the sponge.
See also: throw, towel

sponge on

Also, sponge off. Impose on another's hospitality or generosity, as in He's been sponging on relatives for the past year. This expression uses sponge in the sense of "to soak up something." [Late 1600s]
See also: on, sponge

throw in the sponge

Also, throw in the towel. Give up, acknowledge defeat, as in I can't move this rock; I'm throwing in the sponge, or Bill decided to throw in the towel and resign from his job. This idiom comes from boxing, where formerly a fighter (or his second) conceded defeat by throwing the sponge or towel used to wipe his face into the ring. [c. 1900]
See also: sponge, throw

throw in the towel

COMMON If you throw in the towel, you stop trying to do something, because you know that you cannot succeed. Klara's support, when even her son's trainers wanted to throw in the towel, was crucial. Note: Verbs such as chuck and toss are sometimes used instead of throw. One day I will be brave enough (or fed up enough) to chuck in the towel and start again. Note: You can also say that someone throws in the sponge. You're not the kind of man who throws in the sponge. You're a fighter and it's your fighting spirit which is going to save you. Note: In boxing, a fighter's trainer sometimes throws a towel or sponge into the ring as a signal of defeat in order to stop the fight before there are any more injuries.
See also: throw, towel

throw in the towel (or sponge)

abandon a struggle; admit defeat.
Boxers or their trainers traditionally signal defeat by throwing the towel or sponge used to wipe a contestant's face into the middle of the ring.
See also: throw, towel

throw in the ˈtowel/ˈsponge

(informal) stop doing something because you know that you cannot succeed; admit defeat: It’s a bit early to throw in the towel — you’ve only just started the job.
This idiom comes from boxing: throwing in the towel or sponge is a sign that a fighter accepts defeat.
See also: sponge, throw, towel

sponge down

To moisten or wipe the surface of someone or something with or as if with a sponge: The artist sponged down the canvas with primer before starting the painting. I had a high fever, so the nurse sponged my forehead down.
See also: down, sponge

sponge off

1. To wipe or clean the surface of someone or something with or as if with a sponge: After dinner, I cleared all the dishes and sponged off the table. The blackboard was very dirty, so the teacher told me to sponge it off.
2. To live by relying on the generosity of someone else: He sponged off his parents for years because they never insisted that he get a job.
See also: off, sponge


and spunge
1. in. to drink heavily. She was sponging like there was no tomorrow.
2. n. a drunkard; a tippler. (see also blotter.) She was a spunge, and she wasn’t going to do anything about it.
3. n. a parasitic person. Here comes that sponge, Willy. Hide your wallet, pencils, glasses, and any clothes in his size.

sponge off someone

in. to live off someone; to take advantage of someone by taking food and shelter from them without compensation. Go get a job! Stop sponging off me!
See also: off, sponge


mod. thirsty. I gotta get a drink, man. I’m sponged!
See also: sponge

throw in the towel

and throw in the sponge and toss in the sponge
tv. to quit; to give up. (From boxing, where a towel or sponge thrown into the ring indicates that a boxer has given up.) The candidate who was exposed by the press as a former pickpocket tossed in the sponge in a tearful press conference. I’m done! I’m tossing in the sponge!
See also: throw, towel

throw in the sponge

See also: sponge, throw

toss in the sponge

See also: sponge, toss

throw in the towel

To quit. A prizefighter's sidemen use sponges to clean his face of sweat and blood. To toss the sponge into the ring during a fight signaled that the boxer had had enough—and so the sponge was no longer needed. In recent years, towels have been substituted for sponges in boxing matches, and consequently, in the expression too.
See also: throw, towel
References in periodicals archive ?
Locally grown loofah sponges are inexpensive but their popularity has waned over other varieties of sponges imported from Egypt.
Our Pura Naturals sponges never smell, work better, last longer, and are earth-conscious(TM).
Sweet Eve Strawberry Cream Victoria Sponge Cake (serves 4) Ingredients: 175g butter, soft; 175g caster sugar ; 3 eggs; 175g self-raising flour; 250ml double cream; 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract; 1 tbsp icing sugar and extra for sifting; 400g Sweet Eve Strawberries; 4 tbsp strawberry jam (optional) Method: Pre-heat the oven to 180degC.
Due to popular demand, Qosmedix has also launched a third Oblong Blending Sponge in red (Nit #20214).
Several thousand species of sponges have been identified, of which the vast majority are marine.
175g unsalted butter plus extra for greasing the sponge tins (softened at room temperature) ?
Designate different sponges for specific tasks to prevent contamination.
Comparison with other animals supports the idea that sponges form the base of the animal branch of life's evolutionary tree, says April Hill, a developmental biologist at the University of Richmond in Virginia.
Traveling to the Dutch Antilles with his student, Anna De Kluijver, De Goeij started SCUBA diving with the sponges to find out how much carbon they consume.
It is estimated that sponges are left in patients in between 1 in 2,000 and 1 in 6,000 surgeries in the United States, according to a 2000 report published in the World Journal of Surgery.
First, they soaked sponges at room temperature for 48 hours in a solution made from ground beef and lab growth medium to obtain a high level of microbes (20 million per sponge) and simulate a very dirty sponge.
The string on the tonsil sponge is threaded through the straw, pulled tight, and taped around the shaft at the spoon end (figure).
There was another fascinating medical use of sponges that was popular until the 1800s.
While it is true that real sea sponges have been in use since the Roman Empire, synthetic alternatives made primarily from wood pulp became commonplace by the middle of the 20th century.
The Safety-Sponge System, brainchild of SurgiCount Medical, uses sponges with a "2-D data matrix label" (the 50-cent way of saying "bar code") and a scanner used by nursing staff to keep tabs on all sponges used during surgery.