sponge

1 of 2

noun

1
a(1)
: an elastic porous mass of interlacing horny fibers that forms the internal skeleton of various marine animals (phylum Porifera) and is able when wetted to absorb water
(2)
: a piece of sponge (as for scrubbing)
(3)
: a porous rubber or cellulose product used similarly to a sponge
b
: any of a phylum (Porifera) of aquatic chiefly marine simple invertebrate animals that have a double-walled body of loosely aggregated cells with a skeleton supported by spicules or spongin and are filter feeders that are sessile as adults
2
: a pad (as of folded gauze) used in surgery and medicine (as to remove discharge)
3
: one who lives on others
4
a
: a soft mixture of yeast, liquid, and flour that is allowed to rise and then mixed with additional ingredients to create bread dough
b
: a whipped dessert usually containing whites of eggs or gelatin
c
: a metal (such as platinum) obtained in porous form usually by reduction without fusion
titanium sponge
d
: the egg mass of a crab
5
: an absorbent contraceptive device that is impregnated with spermicide and inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse to cover the cervix
spongelike adjective

sponge

2 of 2

verb

sponged; sponging

transitive verb

1
: to cleanse, wipe, or moisten with or as if with a sponge
2
: to erase or destroy with or as if with a sponge
often used with out
3
: to get by sponging on another
4
: to absorb with or as if with or in the manner of a sponge

intransitive verb

1
: to absorb, soak up, or imbibe like a sponge
2
: to get something from or live on another by imposing on hospitality or good nature
sponged off of her sister
3
: to dive or dredge for sponges
sponger noun
Choose the Right Synonym for sponge

parasite, sycophant, toady, leech, sponge mean a usually obsequious flatterer or self-seeker.

parasite applies to one who clings to a person of wealth, power, or influence or is useless to society.

a jet-setter with an entourage of parasites

sycophant adds to this a strong suggestion of fawning, flattery, or adulation.

a powerful prince surrounded by sycophants

toady emphasizes the servility and snobbery of the self-seeker.

cultivated leaders of society and became their toady

leech stresses persistence in clinging to or bleeding another for one's own advantage.

a leech living off his family and friends

sponge stresses the parasitic laziness, dependence, and opportunism of the cadger.

a shiftless sponge, always looking for a handout

Example Sentences

Noun finally told the sponge to move out of their house and to get a job Verb She sponged up the spilt milk. He sponged off his face. She sponged the dirt off her shirt. She always sponges meals from us.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Meet the official sponge of the BA Test Kitchen, Skura. Bon Appétit, 24 Nov. 2022 Moisten the sponge and use it to wipe the iron’s tip clean. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 21 Nov. 2022 Once she's done with the full face, Pae mists the sponge once more and pats it all over the face. Devon Abelman, Allure, 13 Nov. 2022 To recreate it at home, simply dip the straight edge of a kitchen sponge in paint, then gently press it against your wall. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, 30 Sep. 2022 The condiments are so plentiful and tightly packed that the bun quickly turns into a kind of bread sponge. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 22 Aug. 2022 Use the soft side of a sponge to remove any food or grease while washing with soap and warm water. Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 4 Aug. 2022 Gently dab at the stains using a sponge, then allow the ceiling to dry overnight. Jolie Kerr, Better Homes & Gardens, 3 Oct. 2022 Bloggers Niña Williams and Cecilia Moyer used a sponge to create a custom accent wall. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, 30 Sep. 2022
Verb
But that’s just part of a more ambitious effort to convert the entire city to sponge design. Time, 20 Oct. 2022 Butterfly sponge heads fold in half for easy, hands-free wringing. Maya Polton, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 Sep. 2022 Continuously storing a loofah or sponge in a damp area can lead to bacteria or mold growth, which can in turn leave you with some major skin irritation. Jamie Wilson, Harper's BAZAAR, 31 Aug. 2022 But reading books in Spanish is a good way to start building their vocabulary, and the younger kids are, the more their minds are able to sponge up new words. Christina Montoya Fiedler, Good Housekeeping, 22 Aug. 2022 When messy cooking causes splatters, take a damp cloth or sponge with soap and wipe off the exterior of the air fryer. Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 4 Aug. 2022 This week has desserts like Dutch chocolate cookies, churro rice crispy treats, Victoria sponge cupcakes, and Italian limoncello muffins. Blaine Callahan, Hartford Courant, 3 Aug. 2022 Then, ring out the vinegar, thoroughly rinse the clean kitchen sponge in warm water and let dry. Megan Boettcher, Better Homes & Gardens, 3 Aug. 2022 Use a clean makeup brush or sponge to apply your makeup. Laken Brooks, Forbes, 25 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sponge.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, from Old English, from Latin spongia, from Greek

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sponge was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near sponge

Cite this Entry

“Sponge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sponge. Accessed 10 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

sponge

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: a springy mass of fibers and spicules that forms the skeleton of a group of aquatic animals and is able to absorb water freely
also : a piece of this material or of a natural or synthetic product with similar properties used especially for cleaning
b
: any of the phylum of primitive mostly marine animals that are the source of natural sponges, have a body of loosely connected cells with a skeleton supported by spicules or flexible fibers, and are filter feeders that live permanently attached to a solid surface as adults
2
: a pad (as of folded gauze) used in surgery and medicine (as to soak up fluids or apply medicine)
3
: one who lives on others : sponger
4
a
: raised dough (as for yeast bread)
b
: a whipped dessert usually containing egg whites

sponge

2 of 2 verb
sponged; sponging
1
: to clean or wipe with or as if with a sponge
2
: to absorb with or like a sponge
3
: to get something or live at the expense of another
sponger noun

Medical Definition

sponge

1 of 2 noun
1
: an elastic porous mass of interlacing horny fibers that forms the internal skeleton of various marine animals (phylum Porifera) and is able when wetted to absorb liquid
2
a
: a small pad made of multiple folds of gauze or of cotton and gauze used to mop blood from a surgical incision, to carry inhalant medicaments to the nose, or to cover a superficial wound as a dressing
b
: a porous dressing (as of fibrin or gelatin) applied to promote wound healing
c
: a plastic prosthesis used in chest cavities following lung surgery
3
: an absorbent contraceptive device impregnated with spermicide that is inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse to cover the cervix and act as a barrier to sperm

sponge

2 of 2 transitive verb
sponged; sponging
: to cleanse, wipe, or moisten with or as if with a sponge
sponge the patient's back

More from Merriam-Webster on sponge

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