sponge

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sponge (something) off (of) (someone or something)

To beg for, borrow, or obtain something (usually money or food) as a handout from someone or something else. My brother's been sponging money off my parents ever since he dropped out of college. My roommate's nice, but she's always sponging food off of me, and I don't have the heart to tell her to stop.
See also: off, sponge

sponge away

1. To clean (some surface) vigorously or continuously with a sponge. I sat there sponging away at the concrete until all the markings were removed.
2. To remove something by absorbing or wiping it with a sponge. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "sponge" and "away." Dad's out back sponging the graffiti away. The nurse sponged away the blood from the woman's shoulder.
See also: away, sponge

sponge down

1. To wash, wipe, or moisten with or as with a sponge. I didn't have time to shower, so I just sponged down before heading home.
2. To wash, wipe, or moisten someone or something with or as with a sponge. A noun or pronoun can be used between "sponge" and "down." There's a great photo of my parents sponging me down in the kitchen sink when I was a baby. Dad's making us sponge down the car because we drove it through the mud. The nurse sat by and sponged down the child's forehead to help keep the fever at bay.
See also: down, sponge

sponge from (someone or something)

1. To wipe, mop up, or otherwise clean away something from some surface with or as with a sponge. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "sponge" and "from." I sat beside her bed, sponging the sweat from her feverish brow. Dad's out back sponging the graffiti from the wall.
2. To obtain something, especially money or food, from another person, group, agency, country, etc., for free or without doing any work. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "sponge" and "from" to specify what is being obtained. The minute I had to go on social welfare, I felt like a bum who was sponging from the government. Tom's been sponging money from Mom and Dad for years. I don't know if he's ever held down a job for longer than a month at a time.
See also: sponge

sponge on (someone or something)

To take advantage of someone else's generosity, charity, or hospitality in order to obtain something, typically money or food, as a handout. My brother's been sponging on my parents ever since he dropped out of college. I hated being on welfare—even though I really needed it, I always felt like I was sponging on the government
See also: on, sponge

sponge out

1. To clean or dry the inside of (something) with or as if with a sponge. A noun or pronoun can be used between "sponge" and "out." I sponged out the inside of the pots to remove the last of the paint. Just sponge the bowl out and leave it to dry on the rack.
2. To remove some substance (out of something) with or as if with a sponge. A noun or pronoun can be used between "sponge" and "out." You'll want to sponge the water out of the intake valves, or they could cause some corrosion. You'll have to sponge out the excess moisture gently to avoid damaging the delicate machinery inside.
3. To spend time in a very idle or lazy fashion. After such a tough week in work, all I want to do this weekend is sponge out in front of the TV. I don't want you sponging out on the sofa all day. Go outside and get some exercise!
See also: out, sponge

sponge up

To absorb or mop up some liquid with or as with a sponge. A noun or pronoun is used between "sponge" and "up." One of the worst jobs in the hospital is sponging up all the blood and other bodily gunk that ends up on the floors after surgeries and deliveries. You need to sponge that paint up straight away—if it gets dry, you'll never get it off the floor.
See also: sponge, up

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

throw in the towel

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 towel. After trying their hand in the mobile market for just a few years, the company is already throwing in the towel after finding very little success.
See also: throw, towel

toss 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 toss in the sponge. After trying their hand in the mobile phone market for just a few years, the company is already tossing in the sponge after finding very little success.
See also: sponge, toss

toss in the towel

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 toss in the towel. After trying their hand in the mobile market for just a few years, the company is already tossing in the towel after finding very little success.
See also: toss, towel
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
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 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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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, someone, 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
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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

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
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
Sponging On POUR the glaze into the tray or kettle and dip the moistened sponge into it, picking up only a little paint at a time.
If you are sponging walls that have to stand up to heavy use, protect your finished effect with two coats of clear acrylic varnish.
These popular techniques of decorative painting include sponging, ragging and stenciling.
A recent study compared the effectiveness of three different approaches: acetaminophen alone, sponging alone, or a combination of acetaminophen and sponging.
As the uncured slab expands (from thermal expansion, curing or sponging caused by blowing agents), the probe rides on the sample surface and a read-out of the expansion is graphed on the TA recorder.