View synonyms for comb



[ kohm ]


  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. any comblike instrument, object, or formation.
  3. the fleshy, more or less serrated outgrowth on the head of certain gallinaceous birds, especially the domestic fowl.
  4. something resembling or suggesting this, as the crest of a wave.
  5. a honeycomb, or any similar group of cells.
  6. a machine for separating choice cotton or wool fibers from noil.
  7. a comblike instrument for imparting a grainlike finish to a painted surface.
  8. Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. a ridge of a roof.
  9. a series of springlike prongs projecting from a spine, usually of plastic, for making a loose-leaf binding.
  10. a trowel having a notched edge for applying adhesives in setting tiles or the like.
  11. Armor. a ridge along the top of a helmet, especially of the morion.
  12. Masonry. drag ( def 34 ).
  13. 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.



abbreviation for

  1. combination.
  2. combined.
  3. combining.
  4. combustion.


/ kəʊm /


  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. 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 or go over with a fine-toothed comb or 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. whentr, often foll by through to search or inspect with great care

    the police combed the woods

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Other Words From

  • comb·less adjective
  • comb·less·ness noun
  • un·combed adjective
  • well-combed adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of comb1

First recorded 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,” Slavic (Polish) ząb “tooth,” Tocharian A kam “tooth”; cam 1, kempt

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Word History and Origins

Origin of comb1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

see fine-tooth comb .

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Example Sentences

When she first launched paridust, Ehsan would comb her own closet for her artistic stylings.

Upon landing, he was reportedly spotted wandering the tarmac with only a comb in his pocket.

I ask Cuco how The Verne Club gets illegal, over-proof alcohol like absinthe through the fine-toothed comb of Argentine customs.

Impending indictment for felony comb-over rumored to have played a part in the decision.

In the script, David wrote that he wanted the character Christian Bale played to have a comb-over.

He leaves orders that these fellers behind are t' comb the country till he calls 'em off.

His hair relieved this somewhat, for it was white and always stood gaily on end, defying brush and comb.

The red comb on the top of his head has teeth like a carpenter's saw, and is so large it will not stand up straight.

The poor beast has no ears left and his mane is all notched like an old broken comb; but Roger loves him.

The objects in the engraving are probably the shears, comb, ladle, and an unknown instrument used for cleansing wool.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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