sponge

noun
\ˈspənj \

Definition of sponge 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a(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

4a : 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

sponge

verb
sponged; sponging

Definition of sponge (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sponge

Noun

spongelike \ˈspənj-ˌlīk \ adjective

Verb

sponger noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sponge

Noun

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

Examples of sponge in a Sentence

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But as monsoon rains inundated the area, the porous limestone cave absorbed water like a sponge. Hannah Beech, Richard C. Paddock And Muktita Suhartono, New York Times, "‘Still Can’t Believe It Worked’: The Story of the Thailand Cave Rescue," 12 July 2018 The games includes the centuries-old pelota mixteca (Mixtec-style ball) and variant called pelota de esponja (sponge ball), both played with decorated mitts that combine indigenous design with contemporary logos. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Datebook: Shots of old Route 66, dreamlike paintings and garments fashioned from paper," 12 July 2018 Hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge to attract water from the deeper layers to the surface of the skin, which needs moisture the most. Deanna Pai, Redbook, "6 Tiny Skincare Tweaks for Crazy-Gorgeous Skin," 25 Apr. 2017 The best part is, using the Konjac sponge doesn't add any extra steps to your routine; just swap it in for your washcloth and combine with your favorite cleanser. Melanie Yates, Woman's Day, "Clear Your Skin With a Mini-Facial Every Day," 25 Feb. 2015 These bacteria also tend to grow faster in warm, damp environments such as kitchen sponges, towels and drains. Mark Lieber, CNN, "Do you know what's growing on your kitchen towel?," 11 June 2018 The thrill of escaping the city for the underwater realm of a pineapple dwelling sponge (Spongebob Squarepants) or to a high school ruled by golden girl Regina George (Mean Girls), is prized by tourists and diehard New Yorkers alike. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "11 Vogue Staffers on the Best Places to Eat Before a Broadway Play," 6 June 2018 Come back with a stiff brush or textured sponge, don a mask, go over the area and flush. Heloise, Houston Chronicle, "The weight makes the eggs," 23 May 2018 To banish any stubborn excess, take a clean, white cloth and sponge the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent, like Guardsman Professional Strength Dry Cleaning Fluid Stain Remover Solution ($50, amazon.com) and blot until the solvent is absorbed. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Nail Polish Out of Clothes and More," 7 Dec. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Acrylic Paint Flush the spot with warm water, then sponge it with a solution of one part dishwashing liquid soap and one part warm water. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Paint Out of Clothes and More," 2 Jan. 2018 Unlike Darwin, who had sponged off his grandfather’s fortune, Norman Wilson reported for work every day, including Saturdays, at that same factory. Christoph Irmscher, WSJ, "Review: Charles Darwin, the Origin of the Specious?," 8 Dec. 2017 Continue sponging the stain with alcohol, transferring as much ink as possible to the paper towels, and replacing the towels as needed. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Remove Permanent Marker Stains," 12 Dec. 2017 For now, he's got time to sponge knowledge from Manning and current Plan B option Geno Smith. 12. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Ranking NFL's backup quarterback situations: Patriots' Jimmy Garoppolo tops list," 4 Sep. 2017 Seaweed is iodine and mineral –rich, hailed for its incredible ability to sponge up toxins from the bloodstream. Jay Carroll, Bon Appetit, "The Man Who Forages Some of the Cleanest Seaweed in the World," 27 Feb. 2017 Prisons got into the habit of sponging up these lucrative contracts by undercutting the prices of other government suppliers that have to fulfill pesky requirements like living wages. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Trump’s Made in America Week Shows Us Why Nothing Is Made in America Anymore," 19 July 2017 And organic matter (humus) in a soil helps sponge up water to increase lateral spread of the wetting front. Lee Reich, Detroit Free Press, "Drip your garden to productivity and health," 7 July 2017 The camera carefully regards McBurney’s exposed, unconscious body while Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman) sponges the battle grime from his skin. Katie Walsh, idahostatesman, "‘The Beguiled’ a masterpiece of woman, war," 29 June 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of sponge

Noun

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for sponge

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sponge

Phrases Related to sponge

sponge bath

Statistics for sponge

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sponge

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sponge

sponge

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sponge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a piece of light natural or artificial material that becomes soft when it is wet, is able to take in and hold liquid, and is used for washing or cleaning

: a type of sea animal from which natural sponges are made

: someone who gets something from someone else without doing or paying anything in return

sponge

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sponge (Entry 2 of 2)

: to clean or wipe (something) with a sponge

: to put (paint) on a surface with a sponge

: to get money, food, etc., from (someone) without doing or paying anything in return

sponge

noun
\ˈspənj \

Kids Definition of sponge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a water animal that lives permanently attached to a solid surface (as the ocean bottom) and has a simple body of loosely connected cells with a skeleton supported by stiff fibers or hard particles

2 : a piece of springy absorbent material that forms the skeleton of a sponge or is manufactured and that is used for cleaning

3 : a pad of folded gauze used in surgery and medicine

sponge

verb
sponged; sponging

Kids Definition of sponge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to clean or wipe with a sponge

2 : to get something or live at the expense of another sponge off friends

sponge

noun
\ˈspənj \

Medical Definition of sponge 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

2a : 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

sponged; sponging

Medical Definition of sponge (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cleanse, wipe, or moisten with or as if with a sponge sponge the patient's back

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on sponge

What made you want to look up sponge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!