any aquatic, chiefly marine animal of the phylum Porifera, having a porous structure and usually a horny, siliceous or calcareous internal skeleton or framework, occurring in large, sessile colonies.
the light, yielding, porous, fibrous skeleton or framework of certain animals or colonies of this group, especially of the genera Spongia and Hippospongia, from which the living matter has been removed, characterized by readily absorbing water and becoming soft when wet while retaining toughness: used in bathing, in wiping or cleaning surfaces, etc.
any of various other similar substances, often porous rubber or cellulose, used for washing or cleaning.
a person or thing that absorbs something freely: His mind is a sponge gathering historical data.
Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. a habitual drinker of alcohol who is frequently intoxicated.
Metallurgy. a porous mass of metallic particles, as of platinum, obtained by the reduction of an oxide or purified compound at a temperature below the melting point.
Surgery. a sterile surgical dressing of absorbent material, usually cotton gauze, for wiping or absorbing pus, blood, or other fluids during a surgical operation.
dough raised with yeast, especially before kneading, as for bread.
a light, sweet pudding of a porous texture, made with gelatin, eggs, fruit juice or other flavoring material, etc.
a disposable piece of polyurethane foam permeated with a spermicide for insertion into the vagina as a contraceptive.
to wipe or rub with or as with a wet sponge, as to moisten or clean.
to remove with or as with a wet sponge (usually followed by off, away, etc.).
to wipe out or efface with or as with a sponge (often followed by out).
to take up or absorb with or as with a sponge (often followed by up): to sponge up water.
to borrow, use, or obtain by imposing on another's good nature, friendship, hospitality, or the like: He sponged 40 bucks from his friend and went to the city.
Ceramics. to decorate (a ceramic object) by dabbing at it with a sponge soaked with color.
to take in or soak up liquid by absorption.
to gather sponges.
to live at the expense of others (often followed by on or off): He came back home and sponged off his family for a while.
Idioms about sponge
throw in the sponge, Informal. to concede defeat; yield; give up: The early election returns were heavily against him, but he wasn't ready to throw in the sponge.
- sponge·less, adjective
- sponge·like, adjective
- spong·ing·ly, adverb
- un·sponged, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024
How to use sponge in a sentence
Clean the skillet immediately after each use while it is still warm, by hand, using hot water and a sponge.Hints From Heloise: Sanitizing and disinfecting aren’t the same thing | Heloise Heloise | October 29, 2020 | Washington Post
I then apply a base coat of paint using a makeup sponge — latex has been added to the paint to allow flexibility and avoid cracking — over the entire mask.
This design is great for those accustomed to using a sponge, and it’s still tough enough to clean even the toughest of surfaces—like the grill after a cookout, or the cast iron after a fish dry.Metal scrubbers to keep your cast iron skillet in pristine condition | PopSci Commerce Team | September 23, 2020 | Popular-Science
Picture the technology as a sort of giant sponge inserted just below ground level.A Norwegian Startup Is Turning Dry Deserts Into Fertile Cropland | Vanessa Bates Ramirez | August 19, 2020 | Singularity Hub
They use sea sponges to protect their beaks while rooting for food on the seafloor.Dolphins can learn from their peers how to use shells as tools | Jack J. Lee | August 6, 2020 | Science News For Students
Swift hopes that playing the victim, the perky sponge of “hate,” sells.
No mayonnaise, only butter, which had been absorbed, sponge-style, into the bun.My Big, Buttery Lobster Roll Rumble: We Came, We Clawed, We Conquered | Scott Bixby | June 7, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Santa snacks on rice pudding in Denmark, sponge cake in Chile, Kulkuls in India, and mince pies in the U.K.
What do a smiley-face shaped sponge, a toilet training device for cats, and a hands-free umbrella have in common?‘Shark Tank’: Robert Herjavec talks Money, Mark Cuban & Racing Cars | Anna Klassen | October 4, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
More important, his crusade against sponge paddles saved his beloved sport from an unwatchable fate.Marty Reisman: The Magical Hustler Who Saved a Classic Game | Harold Evans | December 10, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
Aristide called on Madame Coquereau, who entertained him with sweet Frontignan wine, dry sponge cakes and conversation.The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol | William J. Locke
There was set there a vessel full of vinegar: so they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth.His Last Week | William E. Barton
One day she thought her papa's hat looked rough and rusty: so what did she do but wash it with a sponge wet in water.The Nursery, January 1873, Vol. XIII. | Various
After it is on the bottle, take some of the best sweet oil and with a clean sponge wet the lace thoroughly to the inmost folds.The Ladies' Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness | Florence Hartley
Finish them by dipping a sponge into a size, made by boiling isinglass in water, and rub the wrong side.The Ladies' Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness | Florence Hartley
British Dictionary definitions for sponge
any multicellular typically marine animal of the phylum Porifera, usually occurring in complex sessile colonies in which the porous body is supported by a fibrous, calcareous, or siliceous skeletal framework
a piece of the light porous highly absorbent elastic skeleton of certain sponges, used in bathing, cleaning, etc: See also spongin
any of a number of light porous elastic materials resembling a sponge
another word for sponger (def. 1)
informal a person who indulges in heavy drinking
leavened dough, esp before kneading
See sponge cake
Also called: sponge pudding British a light steamed or baked pudding, spongy in texture, made with various flavourings or fruit
porous metal produced by electrolysis or by reducing a metal compound without fusion or sintering and capable of absorbing large quantities of gas: platinum sponge
a rub with a sponge
throw in the sponge See throw in (def. 4)
(tr; often foll by off or down) to clean (something) by wiping or rubbing with a damp or wet sponge
(tr; usually foll by off, away, out, etc) to remove (marks, etc) by rubbing with a damp or wet sponge or cloth
(when tr, often foll by up) to absorb (liquids, esp when spilt) in the manner of a sponge
(tr often foll by off) to get (something) from (someone) by presuming on his generosity: to sponge a meal off someone
(intr; often foll by off or on) to obtain one's subsistence, welfare, etc, unjustifiably (from): he sponges off his friends
(intr) to go collecting sponges
- See also sponge down
- spongelike, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Scientific definitions for sponge
Any of numerous aquatic, chiefly marine invertebrate animals of the phylum Porifera. Sponges characteristically have a porous skeleton, usually containing an intricate system of canals, that is composed of fibrous material or siliceous or calcareous spicules. Water passing through the pores brings food to the organism. Sponges live in all depths of the sea, are sessile, and often form irregularly shaped colonies attached to an underwater surface. Sponges are considered the most primitive members of the animal kingdom, since they lack a nervous system and differentiated body tissues or organs. Adults do not have moving parts, but the larvae are free-swimming. Sponges have great regenerative capacities, with some species able to regenerate a complete adult organism from fragments as small as a single cell. Sponges first appear during the early Cambrian Period and may have evolved from protozoa. Also called poriferan See Note at regeneration.
The light, fibrous, flexible, absorbent skeleton of certain of these organisms, used for bathing, cleaning, and other purposes.
A piece of porous plastic, rubber, cellulose, or other material, similar in absorbency to this skeleton and used for the same purposes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with sponge
In addition to the idiom beginning with sponge
- sponge on
- throw in the sponge
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.