Etymology
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sponge (n.)

Old English sponge, spunge, from Latin spongia "a sponge," also "sea animal from which a sponge comes," from Greek spongia, related to spongos "sponge," of unknown origin. "Probably a loanword from a non-IE language, borrowed independently into Greek, Latin and Armenian in a form *sphong-" [de Vaan]. The Latin word is the source of Old Saxon spunsia, Middle Dutch spongie, Old French esponge, Spanish esponja, Italian spugna.

In English in reference to the marine animal from 1530s. To throw in the sponge "quit, submit" (1860) is from prizefighting, in reference to the sponges used to cleanse the faces of combatants between rounds (compare later throw in the towel). Sponge-cake is attested from 1808.

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sponge (v.)

late 14c., "to soak up with a sponge," also (transitive) "to cleanse or wipe with a sponge," from sponge (n.). The slang sense of "to live in a parasitic manner, live at the expense of others" is attested from 1670s; sponger (n.) in this sense is from 1670s. Originally it was the victim who was the sponge (c. 1600), because he or she was being "squeezed." Intransitive sense "dive for sponges" is from 1881. Related: Sponged; sponging.

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spongy (adj.)

"soft, elastic," 1530s, from sponge (n.) + -y (2). Of hard material (especially bone) "open, porous," 1590s. Related: Sponginess.

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sponger (n.)

1670s, "parasite," agent noun from sponge (v.) in figurative sense. As a job on a cannon crew, by 1828.

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spongiform (adj.)

"resembling a sponge," 1774, from Latin spongia "sponge" (see sponge (n.)) + forma "form, shape" (see form (n.)).

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fungus (n.)

1520s, "a mushroom," from Latin fungus "a mushroom, fungus;" used in English at first as a learned alternative to mushroom (funge was used in this sense late 14c.). The Latin word is believed to be cognate with (or derived from) Greek sphongos, the Attic form of spongos "sponge" (see sponge (n.)). "Probably a loanword from a non-IE language, borrowed independently into Greek, Latin and Armenian in a form *sphong- ...." [de Vaan]

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panatela (n.)

also panetela, panetella, type of long, thin cigar, 1901, from Spanish panatela, literally "sponge-cake" (in American Spanish, "a long, thin biscuit"), a diminutive, formed from Latin panis "bread," from PIE root *pa- "to feed."

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whisk (v.)

late 15c., "move with a rapid sweeping motion" (intransitive), from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish viske "to wipe, rub, sponge," Norwegian, Swedish viska "wipe," also "wag the tail"), from the source of whisk (n.). Transitive sense is from 1510s; meaning "to brush or sweep (something) lightly over a surface" is from 1620s. Related: Whisked; whisking.

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expunge (v.)

"to mark or blot out as with a pen, erase (words), obliterate," c. 1600, from Latin expungere "prick out, blot out, mark (a name on a list) for deletion" by pricking dots above or below it, literally "prick out," from ex "out" (see ex-) + pungere "to prick, pierce" (from suffixed form of PIE root *peuk- "to prick").

According to OED, taken by early lexicographers in English to "denote actual obliteration by pricking;" it adds that the sense probably was influenced by sponge (v.). Related: Expunged; expunging; expungible. In U.S. history, the Expunging Resolution was adopted by the Senate in 1837 to expunge from its journal a resolution passed by it in 1834 censuring President Jackson.

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