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 In an Instagram video on Tuesday (Feb. 4) announcing the exciting upcoming project, Gomez is seen trying on different lipstick, eyeshadow and blush swatches, as well as makeup sponges. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Selena Gomez Announces New Beauty Line, Rare Beauty," 4 Feb. 2020 The stock is an eye-catching sponge-over-carbon camouflage pattern, the metal components have a tactical-gray Cerakote finish. Outdoor Life, "The Best New Hunting Rifles of 2020," 23 Jan. 2020 Once this dark coat is dry, use sponges from the kit to dab colored chips in a liquid base and onto the surface. James Dulley, Dallas News, "Refinish a countertop to look like real granite," 11 Jan. 2020 The sponge-like dessert has its roots in a medieval log-burning ceremony practiced by pagans during the winter. BostonGlobe.com, "The sponge-like dessert has its roots in a medieval log-burning ceremony practiced by pagans during the winter. The burning log emphasized the comfort of light amid the dark winter and symbolized the eventual return of the sun, come the new year.," 25 Dec. 2019 The first type of error happens when the doctor or nurse’s intent was correct, but something went wrong – a medication overdose, a preventable infection, a sponge left in the patient’s body after surgery. Michael L. Millenson, The Conversation, "Medical errors still harm too many people but there are glimpses of real change," 26 Nov. 2019 Planting cover crops and more perennial crops, which don't have to be replanted every year, can turn soil into a carbon sponge. Adam Brewster, CBS News, "Can farmers sow their way out of climate change?," 5 Nov. 2019 Water stations handed out sponges dipped in ice-cold water. Steven Mufson, The Denver Post, "Facing unbearable heat, Qatar has begun to air condition the outdoors," 20 Oct. 2019 Rumours suggest the new islands’ concrete is crumbling and their foundations turning to sponge in a hostile climate. The Economist, "China is resorting to new forms of bullying in the South China Sea," 3 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb One of the best parts of gambas al ajillo is sponging up the garlicky oil with crusty bread. Genevieve Kocooking Editor, Los Angeles Times, "Master Class with Aitor Zabala on Spain’s best tapas," 19 Sep. 2019 The better shareable dishes are the aforementioned tender mussels, served with rafts of toast to sponge the sweet heat, and pimento cheese accompanied by bacon jam, its seasoning reminiscent of baked beans. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Bar Charley has grown up. Now, you’ll dine as well as you drink.," 13 Nov. 2019 These groups, some of which emerged initially as armed gangs fighting the U.S. in the early 2000s, have sponged up state assets after they were incorporated as an official security force in 2018. Seth J. Frantzman, National Review, "Iraqi Unrest Flares Up Again," 1 Nov. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for sponge

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sponge

Last Updated

7 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sponge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spongelike. Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for sponge

sponge

noun
How to pronounce sponge (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sponge

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sponge

Spanish Central: Translation of sponge

Nglish: Translation of sponge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sponge

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