Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.


throw in the towel

throw in the towel

also throw in the sponge


  • to quit
  • to admit defeat or failure
  • to fail
  • to give up
  • to concede (a match, a duel, a bout, etc.)
  • (of boxers or their seconds) throw a towel (or sponge) into the ring as a token of defeat.


  1. Rocky was told by his trainer that he was going to throw in the towel in if he did not start throwing punches
  2. My brother was so fed up of his manager that he threw in the towel and quit his job.
  3. Unable to make him see my point of view, I threw in the towel and let him do it his way.
  4. She was playing a game of chess with her friend and was in a good position, but finally had to throw in the towel as she had to leave.
  5. Having labored on all night to crack the code, he finally threw in the towel and went to sleep.
  6. The argument was getting heated up, but not wanting to start a slanging match, she threw in the towel.
  7. Unable to decide upon a venue, the team threw in the towel and cancelled the event.
  8. Our team fought till the very end, but the opposition was just too good; they had to throw in the towel.

From boxing, where the boxer’s trainer throws in the towel to stop the fight and accept defeat.

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