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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Seabirds gather above them, and myriad corals and sponges cling to their rocky surfaces, creating ample cover for other creatures. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, "Mountains hidden in the deep sea are biological hot spots. Will mining ruin them?," 12 Sep. 2019 Subsidence can grow worse when upstream dams block the incoming flow of new sediments in rivers or when groundwater or natural gas is pumped up from below, removing underlying support for the land, which contracts like a drying sponge. Charlie Schmidt, Scientific American, "New Elevation Measure Shows Climate Change Could Quickly Swamp the Mekong Delta," 28 Aug. 2019 Paddy, with its requirement for standing water, meant that the fields traditionally acted as a spongesa sponge. National Geographic, "India’s water crisis could be helped by better building, planning," 15 July 2019 Wipe out the interior with soapy water and a sponge or paper towel. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Of dogs and wolves," 14 Sep. 2019 The team used the SEM to image samples like Pomponi’s sponges, and since the pressure inside Aquarius is 2.5 times higher than that at the surface, the aquanauts and astronauts could also report how the microscope operated in an extreme environment. Emily Toomey, Smithsonian, "NASA Scientists and Astronauts Practice for Space Missions on the Seafloor," 29 July 2019 These parents forget that kids are like sponges, absorbing all this toxic energy around them. Morgan Baila, refinery29.com, "Big Little Lies Season 2, Episode 4 Recap: The Door’s Hinged," 4 July 2019 Nearly all multicellular animals, except for simple ones like sponges, depend on muscles to move, and all their muscles use some form of contracting fibers in which filaments of the proteins actin and myosin pull past one another to generate force. Quanta Magazine, "Too Small for Big Muscles, Tiny Animals Use Springs," 13 June 2018 Some argue the first multicellular organism was probably a sedentary filter feeder, like a microscopic sponge. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "The world’s first animal was probably a carnivore," 30 Aug. 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.

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

Statistics for sponge

Last Updated

19 Sep 2019

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
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

formidable, illustrious, or eminent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!