sponge

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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

throw in the towel

to admit defeat or failure The union was forced to throw in the towel and settle their bitter dispute with the company.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of throwing a towel into the ring in boxing (signaling that a fighter can no longer continue by throwing a towel into the area where the fight takes place)
See also: throw, towel

throw in the sponge/towel

  (informal)
to stop trying to do something because you know that you cannot succeed
Usage notes: If a boxer (= man who fights as a sport) throws a towel into the ring, he is showing that the other boxer has won.
Three of the original five candidates have now thrown in the towel.
See also: sponge, throw

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

sponge down

v.
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

v.
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

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

sponged

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

verb
See also: sponge, throw

toss in the sponge

verb
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 ?
Matt emulsion is not a good surface to apply a glaze over because it is too porous and so cuts down on the drying time, leaving you little time to work if you are sponging off.
These water-based glazes dry much more quickly than oilbased ones and so are more suitable for sponging techniques.
Sponging involves dipping a damp sponge into the paint tray holding the glaze, dabbing it off to remove excess liquid on to newspaper and then dabbing the colour on to the base-coated surface.
The sponge fishermen undoubtedly took every opportunity to ensure a profitable trip by maximizing fishing effort, and they apparently fished sea turtle nets nearby while sponging (Witzell, 1994).
Sponging was so intense that in 1899 the surplus catch of exceptionally large sheepswool sponges were sold to the U.
Start sponging in the center of the wall by gently tapping the sponge against the surface.