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.
type of edible mushroom, 1670s, from French morille (16c.), a word of uncertain origin, apparently from Germanic; compare Old High German morhilo (German Morchel) "a mushroom," diminutive of morha "root of a tree or plant," from Proto-Germanic *murhon- (source of Old English more "edible root," German Möhre "carrot").
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.
1670s, "parasite," agent noun from sponge (v.) in figurative sense. As a job on a cannon crew, by 1828.
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]
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."
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.