\ 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


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

Other Words from sponge


spongelike \ ˈspənj-​ˌlīk How to pronounce sponge (audio) \ adjective


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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun An old toothbrush or other soft-bristled brush, or a sponge, can help loosen debris. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 1 Aug. 2022 Dip a sponge in the mixture and scrub the inside of oven. Alicia Chilton, Better Homes & Gardens, 25 July 2022 John Webster, its owner, bakes sawdust and wood chips into biomass that, when mixed with soil, acts as a sponge and nutrient retainer. Alixel Cabrera, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 July 2022 Use a sponge or soft-bristled brush to give them a good scrub to remove any residue. Hearst Autos Research, Car and Driver, 24 June 2022 PrPSc is also known to ravage through the brain, creating a sponge-like (spongiform) appearance. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 9 June 2022 With its mild flavor, a single nubbin of tteok is an equal opportunist flavor sponge. Bon Appétit, 24 May 2022 Plus, the compact comes with an applicator sponge and a mirror for touch-ups on the go. April Franzino, Good Housekeeping, 19 May 2022 Because the reef is protected, the team obtained permission to take small samples -- just a centimeter -- of the corals and sea sponge used by the dolphins. Katie Hunt, CNN, 19 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Use a clean makeup brush or sponge to apply your makeup. Laken Brooks, Forbes, 25 Dec. 2021 For homeowners trying to treat pet accidents on their own, the best way is to sponge on clean water, then blot it out by spreading a clean, dry towel over the area and pressing down. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 18 July 2022 Depending on your preference, this essential is seamlessly applied with a brush, sponge, or your fingers (just note that a little goes a long way). Tiffany Dodson, Harper's BAZAAR, 29 June 2022 Floating near the Himalaya-high ceiling are fabric panels to sponge noise, the drinks list is as interesting as in a D.C. hot spot, and the person ferrying food from kitchen to table might be one of the two chef-owners. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 20 June 2022 Washing your bike or scooter with a bucket and sponge instead of a hose. Los Angeles Times, 6 June 2022 For non-washable pieces, sponge the stain with cool water; if that fails, work a stain remover into the spot and rinse it with cool water. Kevin Brasler, Washington Post, 17 May 2022 Using a clean, white cloth, sponge the stain with the mixture, applying a little bit at a time and blotting frequently with a dry cloth until the stain disappears. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, 26 Apr. 2022 At least once a season, Faye says, sponge a waterproofing agent, like Nikwax Glove Proof ($9), onto clean gloves. Amelia Arvesen, Outside Online, 21 Mar. 2020 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.

First Known Use of sponge


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


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

History and Etymology for sponge


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

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

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Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sponge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sponge. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for sponge


\ 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


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


\ 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


transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on sponge

Nglish: Translation of sponge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sponge


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