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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Wipe the basket walls and bottom with a moist cloth or non-abrasive sponge; allow to air dry before putting back into the device. Betty Gold, Good Housekeeping, "The 5 Best Air Fryers for Making Crispy Comfort Foods So Much Healthier," 20 Nov. 2018 The substitute material also must be porous and behave like a sponge—releasing fluids when it is pressed, then recovering by reabsorbing them. Laura Johannes, WSJ, "Synthetic Materials Can Replace Cartilage in Your Aching Joints," 16 Sep. 2018 Amethyst, for example, is said to have calming and protective properties that act like a sponge for negative energy. Alyssa Nassner, Curbed, "Cleansing 101: Keeping your home’s energy in check," 17 Oct. 2018 Computers, tablets, and smartphones absorb adulterous evidence like a sponge, and once suspicions are aroused, tech can offer many clues about a potential dalliance. Kim Komando, Fox News, "8 clever ways that tech can reveal a cheating spouse," 15 Sep. 2018 In March 2017, Ars wrote about a new material that could soak up oil like a sponge. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "New sponge for cleaning harbor oil leaks has a successful real-world test," 16 Aug. 2018 Avoid cotton, which absorbs moisture like a sponge, and invest instead in a moisture-wicking fabric like polyester, nylon or Lycra. Whowhatwear.com, The Seattle Times, "The 5 pieces you need for running," 16 July 2018 The thin sponge layers are light as air, yet sturdy enough to bolster lush vanilla cream. Gabriella Gershenson, WSJ, "Is Boston Cream Pie the World’s Most Delicious...Cake?," 9 Nov. 2018 That usually means keeping the area dry and clean, which may be easier with sponge baths, the Mayo Clinic says. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Umbilical Cord Jewelry Is Apparently a Thing, and It's Surprisingly Chic," 7 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For blood stains, soak the item in cold water first (or sponge it with hydrogen peroxide), and then wash as usual with the detergent. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Only True Sticklers for Cleanliness Will Be Able to Pass This Stain Removal Quiz," 15 Nov. 2018 More on Labor Markets Amazon’s wage increase may pressure competitors by sponging up job candidates, and that could spill over to other sectors. Lauren Weber, WSJ, "Amazon’s Wage Increase Adds Pressure for Employers to Boost Pay," 2 Oct. 2018 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

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.

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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

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Statistics for sponge

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sponge

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on sponge

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sponge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sponge

Spanish Central: Translation of sponge

Nglish: Translation of sponge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sponge

Comments on sponge

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