or coombe

[koom, kohm]






or comb, coomb, coombe

[koom, kohm]

noun British.

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


or coomb


noun Chiefly Scot. and North England.

soot; coal dust; smut.
dust, especially sawdust or dust from a gristmill.
grease from bearings, axles, etc.

Origin of coom

First recorded in 1580–90; variant of culm1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for coomb

Historical Examples of coomb

  • It would be rapture, belike, in a Devon coomb, or on a Hampshire hill-top.

    The Record of Nicholas Freydon

    A. J. (Alec John) Dawson

  • This coomb is seen on the eastern side of the valley of the Ouse, in the suburbs of the town of Lewes.

  • I bethought me, however, to try the creek which drained the coomb, and see whether it might not have made itself a smoother way.


    Samuel Butler

  • The entrance to a coomb, the widening mouth of a valley, is beyond, with copses on the slopes.

    The Open Air

    Richard Jefferies

  • As the coomb opened, the squire went along a hedge near but not quite to the top.

    Field and Hedgerow

    Richard Jefferies

British Dictionary definitions for coomb


combe, coombe or comb


mainly Southern English a short valley or deep hollow, esp in chalk areas
mainly Northern English another name for cirque

Word Origin for coomb

Old English cumb (in place names), probably of Celtic origin; compare Old French combe small valley and Welsh cwm valley




variant spellings of coomb




dialect, mainly Scot and Northern English waste material, such as dust from coal, grease from axles, etc

Word Origin for coom

C16 (meaning: soot): probably a variant of culm 1
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 coomb

also combe, "deep hollow or valley, especially on flank of a hill," mainly surviving in place names, from Old English cumb, probably a British word, from Celtic base *kumbos (cf. Welsh cwm in same sense). Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names says, "This is usually taken to be a Celtic loan ... but there was also OE cumb 'vessel, cup, bowl,'" which was "probably used in a transferred topographical sense reinforced in western districts by cwm."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper