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1a primitive sedentary aquatic invertebrate with a soft porous body that is typically supported by a framework of fibers or calcareous or glassy spicules. Sponges draw in a current of water to extract nutrients and oxygen.
- Phylum Porifera: several classes
2a piece of a soft, light, porous substance originally consisting of the fibrous skeleton of an invertebrate but now usually made of synthetic material. Sponges absorb liquid and are used for washing and cleaning. [in singular] an act of wiping or cleaning with a sponge:they gave him a quick sponge down sponge used as padding or insulating material:the headguard is padded with sponge a piece of sponge impregnated with spermicide and inserted into a woman’s vagina as a form of barrier contraceptive. informal a heavy drinker. [with modifier] metal in a porous form, typically prepared by reduction without fusion or by electrolysis:platinum sponge
3British (also sponge pudding) a steamed or baked pudding of fat, flour, and eggs. 4 informal a person who lives at someone else’s expense.
verb (sponges, sponging or spongeing, sponged)
1 [with object] wipe, rub, or clean with a wet sponge or cloth:she sponged him down in an attempt to cool his fever remove or wipe away (liquid or a mark) with a wet sponge or cloth:I’ll go and sponge this orange juice off my dress give a decorative mottled or textured effect to (a painted wall or surface) by applying a different shade of paint with a sponge. 2 [no object] informal obtain or accept money or food from other people without doing or intending to do anything in return:they found they could earn a perfectly good living by sponging off others [with object] obtain (something) without doing anything in return for it:he edged closer, clearly intending to sponge money from her