Definition of throw in the towel or sponge in English:
1(Of boxers or their seconds) throw a towel (or sponge) into the ring as a token of defeat.
- The Mexican great saw his challenge end when his corner threw in the towel in the closing seconds of round 11.
- One of his cornermen surprisingly decided to throw in the towel to spark a 3-way disagreement between his assistant and the fighter himself.
- He left a trail of blood across the ring before his corner threw in the towel after 15 brutal rounds.
1.1Abandon a struggle; admit defeat.
- Halfway up, my wife, who is not usually fazed by such challenges, couldn't face the prospect of struggling down again and so threw in the towel.
- If you're struggling to get through your workout, throw in the towel for the day instead of beating up your body even more.
- If it's us that throws in the towel, then life gets really rough for the locals and our reputation goes in the toilet.