throw in the sponge(redirected from we threw 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.
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]
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.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
throw in the spongeverb
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.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer