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- (countable) Any of various marine invertebrates, mostly of the phylum Porifera, that have a porous skeleton often of silica.
- (countable) A piece of porous material used for washing (originally made from the invertebrates, now often made of plastic).
- Synonym: bath sponge
- (uncountable) A porous material such as sponges consist of.
- (informal) A heavy drinker.
- (countable, uncountable) A type of light cake.
- Synonym: sponge cake
- (countable, uncountable, Britain) A type of steamed pudding.
- Synonym: sponge pudding
- (slang) A person who takes advantage of the generosity of others (abstractly imagined to absorb or soak up the money or efforts of others like a sponge).
- (countable) A form of contraception that is inserted vaginally; a contraceptive sponge.
- Any sponge-like substance.
- 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.
- The extremity, or point, of a horseshoe, corresponding to the heel.
- (slang) A nuclear power plant worker routinely exposed to radiation.
- → Hindi: स्पंज (spañj)
- → Japanese: スポンジ (suponji)
- → Korean: 스펀지 (seupeonji)
- → Pashto: سپنج (spanj)
- → Welsh: spynj
piece of porous material used for washing
informal: heavy drinker
sponge cake — see sponge cake
sponge pudding — see sponge pudding
slang: person who takes advantage of the generosity of others
form of contraception
mop for cleaning the bore of a cannon
- (intransitive, slang) To take advantage of the kindness of others.
- 1692, Roger L’Estrange, “ (please specify the fable number.) (please specify the name of the fable.)”, in Fables, of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists: […], London: […] R[ichard] Sare, […], OCLC 228727523:
- The fly is an intruder, and a common smell-feast, that spunges upon other Peoples Trenchers.
- He has been sponging off his friends for a month now.
- (transitive, intransitive with on or upon) To get by imposition; to scrounge.
- Synonym: blag
- 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 13, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
- “[…] They talk of you as if you were Croesus—and I expect the beggars sponge on you unconscionably.” And Vickers launched forth into a tirade very different from his platform utterances. He spoke with extreme contempt of the dense stupidity exhibited on all occasions by the working classes.
- July 17 1735, Jonathan Swift, letter to Lord Ornery
- I am an utter stranger to the persons and places, except when half a score come to sponge on me every Sunday evening
- to sponge a breakfast
- (transitive) To deprive (somebody) of something by imposition.
- 1698, Robert South, Twelve Sermons upon Several Subjects and Occasions:
- How came such multitudes of our nation […] to be sponged of their plate and their money?
- To clean, soak up, or dab with a sponge.
- To suck in, or imbibe, like a sponge.
- To wipe out with a sponge, as letters or writing; to efface; to destroy all trace of.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Hooker to this entry?)
- (intransitive, baking) To be converted, as dough, into a light, spongy mass by the agency of yeast or leaven.
- (marine biology, of dolphins) To use a piece of wild sponge as a tool when foraging for food.
- 2013, Pamela S. Turner, The Dolphins of Shark Bay, page 22:
- Why do dolphins sponge instead of foraging in a more "normal" way?
- 2015, Hal Whitehead, Luke Rendell, The Cultural Lives of Whales and, page 109:
- Sponging is worth thinking about in some detail because it illustrates many of the challenges and sources of controversy in studying social learning and culture in wild cetaceans.
- 2017, Janet Mann, Deep Thinkers: Inside the Minds of Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises, page 153:
- Moreover, the females that do it seem to "sponge" relentlessly throughout the day, hunting more than other females and more than male spongers too.
to take advantage of others
to clean with a sponge