What’s the meaning of “Gettare la spugna”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Gettare la spugna along with its pronunciation. If you give up easily, this expression is for you!

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!

Gettare la spugna

Meaning of the idiom

Gettare la spugna can be literally translated as “to toss the sponge”. Its meaning is the same as the English expression to throw in the towel, so it’s used to talk about someone who gives up and admits defeat.

Linguistically speaking, it can be broken down into…

man admitting defeat because of a downward graphic

For example, you could say…

Il meccanico gettò la spugna e portò l’auto a rottamare.
The mechanic threw in the towel and scrapped the car.

Luca non è il tipo da gettare la spugna. Non si arrende mai.
Luca is not the type to throw in the towel. He never gives up.

Pronunciation of Gettare la spugna in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Gettare la spugna.
To throw in the towel.
Literally: To toss the sponge.

If you need help with Italian pronunciation, check out the lesson on the Italian alphabet and pronunciation.

Where does Gettare la spugna come from?

This idiom shares its origin with its English counterpart.

During a boxing match, it’s customary for the trainer of a losing boxer to throw a towel (asciugamano) into the ring to concede defeat and prevent further injury. In the past, the towel was a sponge.

woman sweating and wearing a pink towel around her neck

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Gettare la spugna!

What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the idiom Gettare la spugna is in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

Title: Italian All-in-One For Dummies
Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 672

Learn to speak Italian like a native? Easy.
Italian All-in-One For Dummies appeals to those readers looking for a comprehensive, all-encompassing guide to mastering the Italian language. It contains content from all For Dummies Italian language instruction titles, including Italian For Dummies, Intermediate Italian For Dummies, Italian Verbs For Dummies, Italian Phrases For Dummies, Italian Grammar For Dummies, and Italian For Dummies Audio Set.

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