See more synonyms for comb on
  1. a toothed strip of plastic, hard rubber, bone, wood, or metal, used for arranging the hair, untangling it, or holding it in place.
  2. a currycomb.
  3. any comblike instrument, object, or formation.
  4. the fleshy, more or less serrated outgrowth on the head of certain gallinaceous birds, especially the domestic fowl.
  5. something resembling or suggesting this, as the crest of a wave.
  6. a honeycomb, or any similar group of cells.
  7. a machine for separating choice cotton or wool fibers from noil.
  8. a comblike instrument for imparting a grainlike finish to a painted surface.
  9. Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. a ridge of a roof.
  10. a series of springlike prongs projecting from a spine, usually of plastic, for making a loose-leaf binding.
  11. a trowel having a notched edge for applying adhesives in setting tiles or the like.
  12. Armor. a ridge along the top of a helmet, especially of the morion.
  13. Masonry. drag(def 31).
  14. the upper edge of the buttstock of a rifle or shotgun.
verb (used with object)
  1. to arrange or adorn (the hair) with a comb.
  2. to use (something) in the manner of a comb: She was slowly combing her fingers through her hair.
  3. to remove (anything undesirable) with or as if with a comb: She combed the snarls out of her hair. They combed the cowards from the group.
  4. to search everywhere in: He combed the files for the missing letter.
  5. to separate (textile fibers) with a comb.
  6. to scrape with or as with a comb.
  7. to sweep across; rake: High winds combed the seacoast.
verb (used without object)
  1. to roll over or break at the crest, as a wave.

Origin of comb

before 900; Middle English; Old English comb, camb; cognate with Old High German kamb (German Kamm), Old Norse kambr, Greek gómphos “pin, peg,” gomphíos “molar tooth”; see cam1
Related formscomb·less, adjectivecomb·less·ness, nounun·combed, adjectivewell-combed, adjective


[koom, kohm]
  1. combe.


or comb, coomb, coombe

[koom, kohm]
noun British.
  1. a narrow valley or deep hollow, especially one enclosed on all but one side.

Origin of combe

Old English cumb valley < British Celtic; cf. cwm

comb. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for comb

Contemporary Examples of comb

Historical Examples of comb

  • Poor Dirk, you will remember, if he had thought of it, had no comb with which to experiment.

  • "May have its comb clipped if it make over-much noise," broke in an Englishman.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • At this dangerous moment her ladyship artfully let drop the comb.

  • She snatched the comb out of my hand like a wicked woman, and tore out my hair.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • She then planted the comb in my mop of hair and tore out a handful of it.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

British Dictionary definitions for comb


  1. a toothed device of metal, plastic, wood, etc, used for disentangling or arranging hair
  2. a tool or machine that separates, cleans, and straightens wool, cotton, etc
  3. Australian and NZ the fixed cutter on a sheep-shearing machine
  4. anything resembling a toothed comb in form or function
  5. the fleshy deeply serrated outgrowth on the top of the heads of certain birds, esp the domestic fowl
  6. anything resembling the comb of a bird
  7. a currycomb
  8. a honeycomb
  9. the row of fused cilia in a ctenophore
  10. go over with a fine-tooth comb, go over with a fine-toothed comb, go through with a fine-tooth comb or go through with a fine-toothed comb to examine very thoroughly
  1. (tr) to use a comb on
  2. (when tr, often foll by through) to search or inspect with great carethe police combed the woods
See also comb out

Word Origin for comb

Old English camb; related to Old Norse kambr, Old High German camb



  1. variant spellings of coomb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for comb

Old English camb "comb, crest, honeycomb" (later Anglian comb), from West Germanic *kambaz (cf. Old Saxon and Old High German camb, German Kamm, Middle Dutch cam, Dutch kam, Old Norse kambr), literally "toothed object," from PIE *gombhos, from root *gembh- "to bite, tooth" (cf. Greek gomphos "a molar tooth," Sanskrit gambha-s "tooth").


late 14c. (implied in past participle kombid), verb derived from comb (n.); replacing the former verb, Old English cemban, which however survives in unkempt. Related: Combed; combing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with comb


see fine-tooth comb.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.