throw in the sponge

[throw in the sponge] or [throw up the sponge] or [throw in thetowel] {v. phr.}, {informal} To admit defeat; accept loss.

Aftertaking a beating for five rounds, the fighter's seconds threw in thesponge.

When Harold saw his arguments were not being accepted, hethrew in the towel and left.

Syn.: GIVE UP.