a person who vouches or is responsible for a person or thing.
a person, firm, organization, etc., that finances and buys the time to broadcast a radio or television program so as to advertise a product, a political party, etc.
a person who makes a pledge or promise on behalf of another.
a person who answers for an infant at baptism, making the required professions and assuming responsibility for the child's religious upbringing; godfather or godmother.
verb (used with object)
to act as sponsor for; promise, vouch, or answer for.

1645–55; < Latin spōnsor guarantor, equivalent to spond(ēre) to pledge + -tor -tor, with dt > s

sponsorial [spon-sawr-ee-uhl, -sohr-] , adjective
sponsorship, noun
unsponsored, adjective

1. patron, backer; guarantor. 2. advertiser. 5. guarantee, finance, back, underwrite.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sponsor (ˈspɒnsə)
1.  a person or group that provides funds for an activity, esp
 a.  a commercial organization that pays all or part of the cost of putting on a concert, sporting event, etc
 b.  a person who donates money to a charity when the person requesting the donation has performed a specified activity as part of an organized fund-raising effort
2.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) a person or business firm that pays the costs of a radio or television programme in return for advertising time
3.  a legislator who presents and supports a bill, motion, etc
4.  Also called: godparent
 a.  an authorized witness who makes the required promises on behalf of a person to be baptized and thereafter assumes responsibility for his Christian upbringing
 b.  a person who presents a candidate for confirmation
5.  chiefly (US) a person who undertakes responsibility for the actions, statements, obligations, etc, of another, as during a period of apprenticeship; guarantor
6.  (tr) to act as a sponsor for
[C17: from Latin, from spondēre to promise solemnly]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1651, from L.L. sponsor "sponsor in baptism," in L. "a surety, guarantee," from sponsus, pp. of spondere "give assurance, promise solemnly" (see spondee). Sense of "person who pays for a radio (or, after 1947, TV) program" is first recorded 1931. The verb is attested from
1884, "to favor or support;" commercial broadcasting sense is from 1931.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


one who stands surety for another in the rite of Christian baptism. In the modern baptism of an infant or child the godparent or godparents make profession of faith for the person being baptized (the godchild) and assume an obligation to serve as proxies for the parents if the parents either are unable or neglect to provide for the religious training of the child, in fulfillment of baptismal promises. In churches mandating a sponsor only one godparent is required; two (in most churches, of different sex) are permitted. Many Protestant denominations permit but do not require godparents to join the infant's natural parents as sponsors. In the Roman Catholic Church godparents must be of the Catholic faith.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Four represent the sponsor and five are unit owners.
Sponsor student organizations and participate fully in department committees
  and community outreach.
What you read here is commentary by this debate's sponsor.
Sponsor is not responsible for electronic transmission errors or for technical
  malfunctions of any kind.
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