The French phrase "Je jette l'éponge" revealed

You are in the right place to learn everything you ever wanted to know about the basic French expression “Je jette l’éponge”.

To be clear, it includes a full definition of what it is and how you can use it in everyday life with an audio example. And also the cool informations we added like dialogue example, synonym, slow pronunciation audio and more!

Oh and in case you are interested, you will find our others expressions explained on this page plus all our pages about French words on this page. Wishing you a happy learning!

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French to English

How to pronounce it

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does je jette l'éponge mean?

Definition

This expression comes from the world of boxing, where the coach can throw his sponge (or towel) in the middle of the ring to request an end to the fight in place of his boxer.

How to use it

If you want to say “I give up” in French you can simply say “J’abandonne.

But if you want to be a bit more informal and original, use instead: “Je jette l’éponge” (Literally: “I throw the sponge“)

Fun facts

This is very similar to the English expression “To throw in the towel” which also refers to boxing. But why English chose the towel and French chose the sponge is a mystery…

Synonyms

  • J’abandonne. (“I give up“)
  • J’arrête. (“I stop“)
  • Je renonce. (“I quit“)

Example in a story with slow French audio

Now, let’s see a complete example of this idiom in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Mauvais perdant
Sore loser
___
Un soir, Philippe proposa à Emily de venir jouer à des jeux de société chez lui.
One night, Philippe proposed to Emily to come play board games at his place.
Emily:   Encore ?! Peut-être qu’on pourrait faire autre chose ?
Again?! Maybe we could do something else?
Pierre:   Hmm, j’ai une PlayStation, tu veux essayer ?
Hmm, I have a PlayStation, do you want to try?
Emily:   Je n’y ai jamais joué, mais je veux bien essayer.
I never played it, but I’m ok to try.
Pierre:   Super ! Rendez-vous chez moi à dix-neuf heures alors. Je vais nous préparer à manger.
Great! See you at my place at 7pm then. I will prepare us some food.
Emily:   Ok, cool ! À tout à l’heure.
Ok cool! See you soon.
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