Posted by R. Berg on April 29, 2001
In Reply to: Throw in the towel posted by J on April 29, 2001
: I know it has boxing connotations ("stop the fight" from the trainer who throws it in), but can anybody tell me more?
Here's the entry from the Dictionary of American Slang . It may not tell you anything you don't already know.
"throw in the sponge (towel)": 1. To concede defeat; to surrender. (From prize fighting use; a manager whose prize fighter is being badly beaten signifies that he wants to stop the fight, and concede defeat, by actually throwing a towel or sponge into the ring--two items readily at hand since they are used to sponge and dry perspiration off the fighter between rounds.) 2. To die. (Not common.)