throw in the sponge

(redirected from have thrown in the sponge)

throw in the sponge

To give up on some endeavor; to quit or abandon something; to admit defeat or failure. I've been working on this book for over a year, and I'm getting nowhere with it. I think I'm ready to throw in the sponge. After trying their hand in the mobile market for just a few years, the company is already throwing in the sponge after finding very little success.
See also: sponge, throw
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

throw in the sponge

verb
See also: sponge, throw
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

throw in the sponge/towel, to

To acknowledge defeat; to give up. J. C. Hotten’s Slang Dictionary of 1860 explained that this term comes from prizefighting, where throwing up the sponge used to clean the contender’s face was a signal that the “mill,” or round, was concluded. However, Hotten got it wrong; the sponge (or later, towel) more often was thrown up as a signal of defeat, and it is in this sense that the expression was transferred to other enterprises. “If ever you are tempted to say . . . ‘I am beaten and I throw up the sponge,’ remember Paul’s wise exhortation,” wrote Alexander Maclaren (Philippians, 1909). Later up was changed to in, at least in North America.
See also: sponge, throw, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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