American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of numerous aquatic, chiefly marine invertebrate animals of the phylum Porifera, characteristically having a porous skeleton composed of fibrous material or siliceous or calcareous spicules and often forming irregularly shaped colonies attached to an underwater surface.
- n. The light, fibrous, flexible, absorbent skeleton of certain of these organisms, used for bathing, cleaning, and other purposes.
- n. Porous plastics, rubber, cellulose, or other material, similar in absorbency to this skeleton and used for the same purposes.
- n. Metal in a porous, brittle form, as after the removal of other metals in processing, used as a raw material in manufacturing.
- n. A gauze pad used to absorb blood and other fluids, as in surgery or the dressing of a wound.
- n. A small absorbent contraceptive pad that contains a spermicide and is placed against the cervix of the uterus before sexual intercourse.
- n. Dough that has been or is being leavened.
- n. A light cake, such as sponge cake.
- n. A sponge bath.
- n. One who habitually depends on others for one's own maintenance.
- n. Informal A glutton.
- n. Slang A drunkard.
- v. To moisten, wipe, or clean with or as if with a sponge: sponge off the table.
- v. To wipe out; erase.
- v. To absorb with or as if with a sponge: sponge up the mess.
- v. Informal To obtain free: sponge a meal.
- v. To fish for sponges.
- v. Informal To live by relying on the generosity of others: sponged off her parents.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A fixed aquatic organism of a low order, various in form and texture, composed of an aggregate of amœbiform bodies disposed about a common cavity provided with one or more inhalent and exhalent orifices (ostioles and oscules), through which water pours in and out. The proper sponge-substance is traversed by a water-vascular system or set of irrigating canals, and in nearly all cases is supported and strengthened by a skeleton in the form of horny fibers, or silicious or calcareous spicules. The streaming of the water is kept up by the vibration of cilia in the water-vascular system—that is, by the lashing of flagella borne upon the individual sponge-cells. These so much resemble flagellate infusorians that some naturalists regard sponges as compound infusorians, and consequently as protozoans. Those cells which have definite form are spindle shaped, or flask-shaped, and provided with flagella, round the base of which there may be a little rim or collar, as in those infusorians known as collar-bearing monads, or Choanoflagellata. Sponges propagate by budding or gemmation, a process involving cell-fission or ordinary division of cells. They also reproduce sexually by ova and spermatozoa. Sponge-germs resulting from fission are called
gemmules. The spermatozoa are spindle-shaped. The ova are like ordinary amœbiform cells, and are usually shed into the canals and pass out of the system to be developed; in some species they develop in the substance of the parent. The embryo forms a hollow ball with a ciliated cavity, and then acquires inhalent and exhalent pores. The living tissue proper of sponges is disposed in three layers or sets of cells, as in all higher animals. These are an ectoderm, cuticle, or out-layer; an endoderm, innermost layer, or in-layer; and a mesoderm, middle layer, or mid-layer, which may be quite thick. It is from the mid-layer that the reproductive elements, and all the many forms of skeletal elements, are derived. Special sense-organs have been described in some sponges. (See cut under synocil.) Sponges as a class or phylum of animals have many technical names—as Acnidophora, because they have no cnidæ or stinging-organs (compare Cnidaria); Amorphozoa, from their shapelessness, or rather their many shapes; Parazoa, from their position with respect to both Protozoa and Metazoa; Porifera, Poriferata, Porozoa, and Polystomata, from their many pores or openings (see cut under Porifera); Spongiæ, Spongiaria, Spongida, Spongiozoa, etc. They are divided into various primary groups, the most tangible of which are two—the chalk-sponges, or Calcispongiæ, and the fibrous and flinty sponges, or Silicispongiæ. But the leading authorities differ irreconcilably in the arrangement and nomenclature of the many orders, families, and genera they respectively adopt; and the opinion has been expressed that the sponges are not susceptible of satisfactory treatment by the ordinary methods of zoölogical classification. See also cuts under ciliate, Spongilla, monadiform, Euplectella, and Hyalonemidæ.
- n. The fibrous framework of a colony of sponge-animalcules, from which the animalcules themselves have been washed out, and from which the gritty or sandy parts of the colony, if there were any, have been taken away. See skeleton, 1 . The framework of sponges is of different character in the several orders. The slime-sponges have none, or scarcely any. In the ordinary fibrous sponges the skeleton is a quantity of interlacing fibers and layers, forming an intricate network. This is further strengthened in the chalky and glassy sponges by hard spicules, either separately embedded in the general skeletal substance, called
ceratode, or solidified in a kind of latticework. (See Calcispongiæ, Silicispongiæ.) The chalk-needles or calcareous spicules are either straight or oftener rayed in three-armed or four-armed crosses. The sand-needles or silicious spicules present an extraordinary and beautiful variety. Among them are many starry figures and wheel-like forms, resembling snow-crystals; others are still more curious, in the forms of crosses, anchors, grapnels, shirt-studs, bodkins, etc. The six-rayed star is the characteristic shape in the glass-sponges. (See Hexactinellida.) Sponge-spicules are named in an elaborate special vocabulary. (See sponge-spicule.) The glass-sponges have some commercial value from their beauty as objects of curiosity; but a few of the fibrous sponges are the only others out of many hundreds of species, both fossil and recent, of any economic importance. Sponges, when wetted, swell to a much greater size, and become very flexible; they are therefore used as vehicles and absorbents of water and other liquids, in wiping or cleansing surfaces, erasing marks, as from a slate, etc. See bath-sponge, Euspongia, and Hippospongia.
- n. Any sponge-like substance. In baking, dough before it is kneaded and formed, when full of globules of carbonic acid generated by the yeast or leaven.
- n. A tool for cleaning a cannon after its discharge. The sponge used for smooth-bore guns consists of a cylinder of wood covered with sheepskin or some similar woolly fabric, and fitting the bore of the gun rather closely; this is secured to a long handle, or, for field-guns, to the reverse end of the rammer. For modern rifled guns and breech-loaders, sponges of different forms and materials have been introduced. A common form is a cylinder to which bristles are fixed, forming a cylindrical brush, the rounded end being also covered with the bristles. See cut under
- n. Figuratively, one who or that which absorbs without discrimination, and as readily gives up, when subjected to pressure, that which has been absorbed.
- n. One who persistently lives upon others; a sycophantic or cringing dependent; a hanger-on for the sake of maintenance; a parasite.
- n. In the manège, the extremity or point of a horseshoe answering to the heel.
- n. The coral, or mass of eggs, under the abdomen of a crab.
- To cleanse or wipe with a sponge: as, to sponge the body; to sponge a slate or a cannon.
- To wipe out with a sponge, as letters or writing; efface; remove with a sponge; destroy all traces of: with out, off, etc.
- Specifically To dampen, as in cloth-manufacturing.
- To absorb; use a sponge, or act like a sponge, in absorbing: generally with up: as, to sponge up water that has been spilled.
- To gain by sycophantic or mean arts.
- To drain; harass by extortion; squeeze; plunder.
- In baking, to set a sponge for: as, to sponge bread.
- To gather sponges where they grow; dive or dredge for sponges.
- To live meanly at the expense of others; obtain money or other aid in a mean way: with on.
- n. Any absorbent material employed to take up the blood and other fluids in surgical operations.
- n. countable Any of various marine invertebrates, mostly of the phylum Porifera, that have a porous skeleton often of silica.
- n. countable A piece of porous material used for washing (originally made from the invertebrates, now often made of plastic).
- n. uncountable A porous material such as sponges consist of.
- n. informal A heavy drinker.
- n. countable, uncountable A type of light cake; sponge cake.
- n. countable, uncountable, UK A type of steamed pudding.
- n. 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).
- n. countable A form of contraception that is inserted vaginally; a contraceptive sponge.
- v. slang To take advantage of the kindness of others.
- v. To clean, soak up, or dab with a sponge.
- v. To suck in, or imbibe, like a sponge.
- v. intransitive To be converted, as dough, into a light, spongy mass by the agency of yeast or leaven.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of Spongiæ, or Porifera. See
Illust.and Note under spongiæ.
- n. The elastic fibrous skeleton of many species of horny Spongiæ (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.
- n. One who lives upon others; a pertinacious and indolent dependent; a parasite; a sponger.
- n. Any spongelike substance.
- n. 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.
- n. Iron from the puddling furnace, in a pasty condition.
- n. Iron ore, in masses, reduced but not melted or worked.
- n. (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.
- n. (Far.) The extremity, or point, of a horseshoe, answering to the heel.
- v. To cleanse or wipe with a sponge; ; to wet with a sponge.
- v. To wipe out with a sponge, as letters or writing; to efface; to destroy all trace of.
- v. Fig.: To deprive of something by imposition.
- v. Fig.: To get by imposition or mean arts without cost.
- v. To suck in, or imbibe, as a sponge.
- v. Fig.: To gain by mean arts, by intrusion, or hanging on.
- v. To be converted, as dough, into a light, spongy mass by the agency of yeast, or leaven.
- n. primitive multicellular marine animal whose porous body is supported by a fibrous skeletal framework; usually occurs in sessile colonies
- n. a follower who hangs around a host (without benefit to the host) in hope of gain or advantage
- v. soak up with a sponge
- n. someone able to acquire new knowledge and skills rapidly and easily
- v. ask for and get free; be a parasite
- v. erase with a sponge; as of words on a blackboard
- v. wipe with a sponge, so as to clean or moisten
- v. gather sponges, in the ocean
- n. a porous mass of interlacing fibers that forms the internal skeleton of various marine animals and usable to absorb water or any porous rubber or cellulose product similarly used
- Old English spunge, from Latin spongia, from Ancient Greek σπογγιά (spongia), related to σπόγγος (spongos). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old English, from Latin spongia, from Greek spongiā, from spongos. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The sponge is a one-man stimulus package, not just commercially but morally.”
“PALCA: So the sponge is something called Discodermia dissoluta.”
“But the marine sponge is rare and produces only small quantities of poison.”
“When the sponge is light add the melted butter, egg, grated lemon rind and corn flour.”
“Mosely constructed a level three Menger sponge—in other words, a sponge after three iterations of cube removal figure F.”
“The sponge is used to Saturate/Desaturate a value.”
“Problem is the people that the Police work for are the people that sponge from the state!!”
“Mix the Dough: Mix the sponge with the eggs, butter, milk, salt, allspice, coriander, cinnamon, vanilla, and citrus peel just until the sponge is incorporated into the liquid.”
“As mean water levels rise, soft sponge is converted to structural sponge and a new band of soft sponge is established on the periphery.”
“Capable of holding 100 times its own weight in water, the structural sponge is realized by adding a hardening agent to the SAP, which creates a shell on the surface for development.”
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