sponge

noun
\ ˈspənj How to pronounce sponge (audio) \

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 How to pronounce spongelike (audio) \ 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

Curled, pale sponges that looked like potato chips the size of dinner plates grew there, as did spindly white corals festooned with squid egg sacks. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, "Mountains hidden in the deep sea are biological hot spots. Will mining ruin them?," 12 Sep. 2019 Add the remaining flour, sugar and salt to the sponge and mix well. Jessica Yadegaran, The Mercury News, "“Downton Abbey” Recipe: Asparagus Cups," 1 Sep. 2019 Many of those experiments involved shooting bullets through sponges soaked in pig's blood, spraying the liquid onto white paper, and capturing the entire process with high-speed cameras. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Physicists now have even better models for blood spatter from gunshot wounds," 29 Aug. 2019 With so much rain, traipsing around in nature in the last year could be like walking on a soaked sponge. Julia Rentsch, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland oysters are having a bad year, and here’s why," 18 Aug. 2019 After days of travelling Lladrovci was relieved to find the floors carpeted with sponge mattresses. The Economist, "Confessions of an Islamic State fighter," 16 Aug. 2019 Inside Aquarius, Pomponi instructed the divers outside on how to use her research equipment for collecting sponge samples and measuring their metabolic activity. Emily Toomey, Smithsonian, "NASA Scientists and Astronauts Practice for Space Missions on the Seafloor," 29 July 2019 Another, Lime Basil, resembles an artichoke and has layers of vanilla sponge, marshmallow basil mousse, lime basil jelly, and a coconut crunch. BostonGlobe.com, "This cafe makes cakes that are art and drinks with state-of-the-art machines - The Boston Globe," 17 Sep. 2019 Illusionist David Reed-Brown, from McBride’s Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas, will show students how to mystify and amaze their friends and families with a mix of close-up and stand-up magic using cards, ropes, scarves, sponges, and wands. courant.com, "Community News For The Farmington Valley Edition," 16 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The second took place in a comfortable kitchen in Vauxhall, in the inner-London gentrification belt (Bagehot sponged). The Economist, "When two tribes go to lunch," 12 Sep. 2019 Pack a dark washcloth to sponge dark clothes without leaving obvious lint. Los Angeles Times, "Readers’ laundry tips and secrets for keeping clothes clean while traveling," 4 Sep. 2019 For decades, the Sardar Sarovar sponged up almost all of Gujarat’s irrigation budget. Arundhati Roy, Quartz India, "Tribespeople in India’s Gujarat fiercely resisted a mega dam—but they got a mega statue, too," 8 July 2019 Its tentacle-like roots have sponged up water in already thirsty districts. Peter Schwartzstein, National Geographic, "An invasive, thorny tree is taking over Africa—can it be stopped?," 9 Apr. 2019 Next, use a clean, white cloth to sponge the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent like Guardsman Professional Strength Dry Cleaning Fluid. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Remove Vomit Stains From Carpet, Clothing, and More," 5 Mar. 2019 If any stains remain, sponge the surface with a cloth moistened in 1 cup rubbing alcohol and 1 cup warm water — but do a spot test on a hidden area first to make sure the fabric won't get damaged. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of Mold and Mildew in the Mustiest Corners of Your House," 6 Feb. 2019 Repeat the process using another soft cloth dipped in water to gently sponge away the chlorine, but don't rub or oversaturate the paper. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of Mold and Mildew in the Mustiest Corners of Your House," 6 Feb. 2019 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

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

17 Oct 2019

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

sponge

noun
\ ˈspənj How to pronounce sponge (audio) \

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 How to pronounce sponge (audio) \

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

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