To throw up the sponge

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • To throw up the sponge to give up a contest; to acknowledge defeat; -- from a custom of the prize ring, the person employed to sponge a pugilist between rounds throwing his sponge in the air in token of defeat; -- now, throw in the towel is more common, and has the same origin and meaning.
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Usage

In literature:

We must stand up to our fight now, or throw up the sponge.
"Robbery Under Arms" by Thomas Alexander Browne, AKA Rolf Boldrewood
If there ain't I'll have to throw up the sponge.
"The Voice of the City" by O. Henry
Yes, but they are not the people to throw up the sponge at the first blow.
"An Enemy of the People" by Henrik Ibsen
There were times when I was tempted to throw up the sponge.
"Herb of Grace" by Rosa Nouchette Carey
I might as well throw up the sponge at once, if we are to stay here.
"Big Game" by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
He throws up the sponge; he has done his best an' failed, so away he goes like the sow that was washed to his wallowing in the mire.
"The Young Trawler" by R.M. Ballantyne
We certainly don't mean to throw up the sponge, when we're so near the end of the race.
"Boy Scouts on Hudson Bay" by G. Harvey Ralphson
Whatever happened, she was a poor thing to throw up the sponge in a month.
"The Lady of the Basement Flat" by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
A year ago I was ready to throw up the sponge.
"Northern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Eleventh Annual Meeting" by Various
And now to talk of throwing up the sponge!
"Ralph the Heir" by Anthony Trollope
And he promised to come up there above me every day, to ask me if I was ready to throw up the sponge.
"The Boy Scouts in the Rockies" by Herbert Carter
He had better make up his mind to throw up the sponge.
"Forging the Blades" by Bertram Mitford
You were not such a fool as to throw up the sponge.
"The Man Who Rose Again" by Joseph Hocking
Surely Pip was not going to throw up the sponge now!
""Pip"" by Ian Hay
Just remember that I venture on this prophecy: if Salt through any cause does not happen to get arrested, B. will throw up the sponge.
"The Secret of the League" by Ernest Bramah
To give the Hun pilot his due he made no attempt to throw up the sponge.
"Billy Barcroft, R.N.A.S." by Percy F. Westerman
I was ready to throw up the sponge as he slightly lifted the top paper and toyed with it.
"The Man Without a Memory" by Arthur W. Marchmont
To throw up the sponge at the outset would certainly look cowardly.
"The Squire's Daughter" by Silas K(itto) Hocking
Are you going to throw up the sponge just before the fight's won!
"The White Blackbird" by Hudson Douglas
There is always a disposition on such occasions for very tired men to throw up the sponge and surrender.
"The First Seven Divisions" by Ernest W. Hamilton
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