throw in the towel
Sponge Sponge (sp[u^]nj), n. [OF. esponge, F. ['e]ponge, L. spongia, Gr. spoggia`, spo`ggos. Cf. {Fungus}, {Spunk}.] [Formerly written also {spunge}.] 1. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of Spongi[ae], or Porifera. See Illust. and Note under {Spongi[ae]}. [1913 Webster]

2. The elastic fibrous skeleton of many species of horny Spongi[ae] (Keratosa), used for many purposes, especially the varieties of the genus {Spongia}. The most valuable sponges are found in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, and on the coasts of Florida and the West Indies. [1913 Webster]

3. Fig.: One who lives upon others; a pertinacious and indolent dependent; a parasite; a sponger. [1913 Webster]

4. Any spongelike substance. Specifically: (a) Dough before it is kneaded and formed into loaves, and after it is converted into a light, spongy mass by the agency of the yeast or leaven. (b) Iron from the puddling furnace, in a pasty condition. (c) Iron ore, in masses, reduced but not melted or worked. [1913 Webster]

5. (Gun.) A mop for cleaning the bore of a cannon after a discharge. It consists of a cylinder of wood, covered with sheepskin with the wool on, or cloth with a heavy looped nap, and having a handle, or staff. [1913 Webster]

6. (Far.) The extremity, or point, of a horseshoe, answering to the heel. [1913 Webster]

{Bath sponge}, any one of several varieties of coarse commercial sponges, especially {Spongia equina}.

{Cup sponge}, a toilet sponge growing in a cup-shaped form.

{Glass sponge}. See {Glass-sponge}, in the Vocabulary.

{Glove sponge}, a variety of commercial sponge ({Spongia officinalis}, variety tubulifera), having very fine fibers, native of Florida, and the West Indies.

{Grass sponge}, any one of several varieties of coarse commercial sponges having the surface irregularly tufted, as {Spongia graminea}, and {S. equina}, variety {cerebriformis}, of Florida and the West Indies.

{Horse sponge}, a coarse commercial sponge, especially {Spongia equina}.

{Platinum sponge}. (Chem.) See under {Platinum}.

{Pyrotechnical sponge}, a substance made of mushrooms or fungi, which are boiled in water, dried, and beaten, then put in a strong lye prepared with saltpeter, and again dried in an oven. This makes the black match, or tinder, brought from Germany.

{Sheep's-wool sponge}, a fine and durable commercial sponge ({Spongia equina}, variety {gossypina}) found in Florida and the West Indies. The surface is covered with larger and smaller tufts, having the oscula between them.

{Sponge cake}, a kind of sweet cake which is light and spongy.

{Sponge lead}, or {Spongy lead} (Chem.), metallic lead brought to a spongy form by reduction of lead salts, or by compressing finely divided lead; -- used in secondary batteries and otherwise.

{Sponge tree} (Bot.), a tropical leguminous tree ({Acacia Farnesiana}), with deliciously fragrant flowers, which are used in perfumery.

{Toilet sponge}, a very fine and superior variety of Mediterranean sponge ({Spongia officinalis}, variety Mediterranea); -- called also {Turkish sponge}.

{To set a sponge} (Cookery), to leaven a small mass of flour, to be used in leavening a larger quantity.

{To throw up the sponge}, to give up a contest; to acknowledge defeat; -- from a custom of the prize ring, the person employed to sponge a pugilist between rounds throwing his sponge in the air in token of defeat; -- now, {throw in the towel} is more common, and has the same origin and meaning. [Cant or Slang] ``He was too brave a man to throw up the sponge to fate.'' --Lowell.

{Vegetable sponge}. (Bot.) See {Loof}.

{Velvet sponge}, a fine, soft commercial sponge ({Spongia equina}, variety meandriniformis) found in Florida and the West Indies.

{Vitreous sponge}. See {Glass-sponge}.

{Yellow sponge}, a common and valuable commercial sponge ({Spongia agaricina}, variety corlosia) found in Florida and the West Indies. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • throw\ in\ the\ towel — • throw in the sponge • throw up the sponge • throw in the towel v. phr. informal To admit defeat; accept loss. After taking a beating for five rounds, the fighter s seconds threw in the sponge. When Harold saw his arguments were not being… …   Словарь американских идиом

  • throw in the towel — ► throw in the towel (or sponge) 1) (in boxing) throw a towel (or sponge) into the ring as a token of defeat. 2) admit defeat. Main Entry: ↑throw …   English terms dictionary

  • throw in the towel — If you throw in the towel, you admit that you are defeated or cannot do something …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • throw in the towel — verb give up in the face of defeat of lacking hope; admit defeat (Freq. 1) In the second round, the challenger gave up • Syn: ↑drop out, ↑give up, ↑fall by the wayside, ↑drop by the wayside, ↑throw in, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • throw in the towel —    If you throw in the towel, you admit that you are defeated or cannot do something.   (Dorking School Dictionary)    ***    If you throw in the towel, you admit that you cannot succeed.     After unsuccessfully competing in several… …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • throw in the towel — AND throw in the sponge; toss in the sponge tv. to quit; to give up. (From boxing where a towel or sponge thrown into the ring indicates that a boxer has given up.) □ I can tell when it’s time to throw in the towel, and this is that time. □ The… …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • throw in the towel — to admit defeat or failure. The union was forced to throw in the towel and settle their bitter dispute with the company. Etymology: based on the literal meaning of throwing a towel into the ring in boxing (= signaling that a fighter can no longer …   New idioms dictionary

  • throw in the towel —    to concede defeat    Boxing imagery, from what the second does when his fighter is unable to continue:     I ve got to go to Rummidge to see my lawyer tomorrow. I could instruct him to throw in the towel. (Lodge, 1995) …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • throw in the towel — quit fighting, give up    Don t throw in the towel. One more year and you ll graduate …   English idioms

  • Throw in the towel —   If you throw in the towel, you admit that you are defeated or cannot do something …   Dictionary of English idioms

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