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as in to absorb
to take in (something liquid) through small openings the ground quickly sponged up the much-needed rain

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in to beg
to live by relying on someone else's generosity or hospitality without sharing in the cost or responsibility she's been sponging off of her friends while she tries to land an entry-level job on Wall Street

Synonyms & Similar Words

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun sponge differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of sponge are leech, parasite, sycophant, and toady. While all these words mean "a usually obsequious flatterer or self-seeker," sponge stresses the parasitic laziness, dependence, and opportunism of the cadger.

a shiftless sponge, always looking for a handout

When might leech be a better fit than sponge?

The words leech and sponge are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, leech stresses persistence in clinging to or bleeding another for one's own advantage.

a leech living off his family and friends

When can parasite be used instead of sponge?

The meanings of parasite and sponge largely overlap; however, 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

When would sycophant be a good substitute for sponge?

The synonyms sycophant and sponge are sometimes interchangeable, but sycophant adds to this a strong suggestion of fawning, flattery, or adulation.

a powerful prince surrounded by sycophants

In what contexts can toady take the place of sponge?

In some situations, the words toady and sponge are roughly equivalent. However, toady emphasizes the servility and snobbery of the self-seeker.

cultivated leaders of society and became their toady

Thesaurus Entries Near sponge

Cite this Entry

“Sponge.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/sponge. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

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