—n. 1. any aquatic, chiefly marine animal of the phylum Porifera, having a porous structure and usually a horny, siliceous or calcareous internal skeleton or framework, occurring in large, sessile colonies.
2. the light, yielding, porous, fibrous skeleton or framework of certain animals or colonies of this group, esp. of the genera Spongia and Hippospongia, from which the living matter has been removed, characterized by readily absorbing water and becoming soft when wet while retaining toughness: used in bathing, in wiping or cleaning surfaces, etc.
3. any of various other similar substances, often porous rubber or cellulose, used for washing or cleaning.
4. See sponge bath. 5. a person or thing that absorbs something freely: His mind is a sponge gathering historical data. 6. a person who persistently borrows from or lives at the expense of others; sponger; parasite.
7. Informal.a drunkard.
8. Metall.a porous mass of metallic particles, as of platinum, obtained by the reduction of an oxide or purified compound at a temperature below the melting point.
9. Surg.a sterile surgical dressing of absorbent material, usually cotton gauze, for wiping or absorbing pus, blood, or other fluids during a surgical operation.
10. Cookery. a. dough raised with yeast, esp. before kneading, as for bread.
b. a light, sweet pudding of a porous texture, made with gelatin, eggs, fruit juice or other flavoring material, etc.
11. a disposable piece of polyurethane foam impregnated with a spermicide for insertion into the vagina as a contraceptive.
12. throw in the sponge,Informal.to concede defeat; yield; give up: The early election returns were heavily against him, but he wasn't ready to throw in the sponge.
—v.t. 1. to wipe or rub with or as with a wet sponge, as to moisten or clean.
2. to remove with or as with a wet sponge (usually fol. by off, away, etc.).
3. to wipe out or efface with or as with a sponge (often fol. by out).
4. to take up or absorb with or as with a sponge (often fol. by up): to sponge up water. 5. to borrow, use, or obtain by imposing on another's good nature, friendship, hospitality, or the like: He sponged 40 bucks from his friend and went to the city. 6. Ceram.to decorate (a ceramic object) by dabbing at it with a sponge soaked with color.
—v.i. 1. to take in or soak up liquid by absorption.
2. to gather sponges.
3. to live at the expense of others (often fol. by on or off): He came back home and sponged off his family for a while.