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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 ?
The bath sponges are made from a plant known as luffa, which is grown in fields, gardens and on the balconies of many houses.
Perfect Puds Chocolate Sponge Pudding (2x105g), Aldi, PS1.
Another truly unique and patent-pending technological advance is the ability to infuse soap throughout the sponge.
Bake for 20 minutes until the sponges are well risen and firm to the touch.
Clypeatula cooperensis a new freshwater sponge (Porifera, Spongillidae) from the Rocky Mountains of Montana, USA.
A: Damp, dirty sponges harbour and transmit germs that can spread food-borne illnesses.
Sponges don't make some body parts, such as muscles, nerves and epithelial tissues like skin or gut linings, that are found in more complex animals.
Once the oil comes into this smart sponge structure," Reed says, "it can't be released under any amount of pressure," he added.
Our biggest risk, and any surgeon's biggest risk, is that someone is much more likely to leave behind a sponge than a piece of equipment," said Dr.
He felt the sponge probably didn't inhibit her breathing during the running of the Sabin and I think she was still able to run her best race.
At the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Food Technology and Safety Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, scientists have tested several methods for reducing risks from harmful microbes hiding in reused sponges.
Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Victoria Sponge, pounds 1.
Moisten the sponge with oxymetazoline and place it into the tonsillar fossa.
Sponge divers were always a unique breed, first training themselves to hold their breath for fantastic lengths of time, later devising various sorts of diving gear.
Another common type of artificial sponge is made of polyurethane foam.