\ ˈkōm How to pronounce comb (audio) \

Definition of comb

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a toothed instrument used especially for adjusting, cleaning, or confining hair
b : a structure resembling such a comb especially : any of several toothed devices used in handling or ordering textile fibers
c : currycomb
2a : a fleshy crest on the head of the domestic chicken and other domestic birds
b : something (such as the ridge of a roof) resembling the comb of a cock
3 : honeycomb


combed; combing; combs

Definition of comb (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to draw a comb through for the purpose of arranging or cleaning
2 : to pass across with a scraping or raking action
3a : to eliminate (as with a comb) by a thorough going-over
b : to search or examine systematically police are combing the city
4 : to use in a combing action

intransitive verb

1 of a wave or its crest : to roll over or break into foam
2 : to make a thorough search comb through the classified ads

Definition of comb (Entry 3 of 3)

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Other Words from comb


combed \ ˈkōmd How to pronounce comb (audio) \ adjective
comblike \ ˈkōm-​ˌlīk How to pronounce comb (audio) \ adjective

Examples of comb in a Sentence

Verb He combed back his hair. The wool is combed before being spun into yarn. We combed the beach for shells.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Polarized light is like streaking a comb through messy hair—all the waves now vibrate in the same plane. Max G. Levy, Wired, 23 June 2021 Lacking a comb, Mao’s bodyguard straightened the chairman’s greasy hair with his fingers. Peter C. Martin, The Atlantic, 19 June 2021 In her videos, Thompson is seen lifting comb out of hives, scooping up bees with her hands and using power tools. NBC News, 3 June 2021 Once the hair is fully dry, use a comb down the middle of your scalp to create a center part. Taylore Glynn, Marie Claire, 2 June 2021 Use a comb to work the peanut butter through the hair. Marielle Marlys, Good Housekeeping, 24 May 2021 For hair with more knots, spray liberally and use a wide-toothed comb. Chris Hachey, BGR, 18 May 2021 Per El Español newspaper’s David Barreira, the team also found a comb that Domínguez likely used to hold her hair in a bun. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Feb. 2021 Among smaller motifs were the sun symbol of the Biafra secession, a flower blossom, the black panther, the Afro comb. New York Times, 2 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In Oakland, about a dozen people wearing bright orange vests and caps daily comb the streets of Chinatown every day. Nicole Chavez, CNN, 28 May 2021 One Prep Spray onto my slightly damp hair and then comb through to eliminate any tangles. Rachel Krause,, 12 Apr. 2021 Only a quarter of those doses, at best, are now expected this month — all from the Netherlands — while federal regulators comb through the Baltimore factory that was supposed to take over for the Dutch plants. New York Times, 9 Apr. 2021 That leak could in turn serve as a stepping stone for other ransomware hackers, who frequently comb dark web data dumps for information that can be used to impersonate companies and target their customers. Andy Greenberg, Wired, 7 June 2021 Recently, scientists have begun to comb Earth for the radioactive debris from these explosions. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, 13 May 2021 Pike also gained more than 10,000 Instagram followers in three hours as people raced over to his account to comb for clues. Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2021 Next, take a section of hair and brush or comb it to remove any tangles. Jennifer Manfrin,, 18 Mar. 2021 Investigators continued to comb the shooting scene and Cassidy’s home for answers Friday, at one point detonating a suspicious bundle of wires and batteries found in the attic of his house nine miles from the VTA yard. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'comb.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of comb


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for comb


Middle English, from Old English camb; akin to Old High German kamb comb, Greek gomphos tooth

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Time Traveler for comb

Time Traveler

The first known use of comb was before the 12th century

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Statistics for comb

Last Updated

23 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Comb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for comb



English Language Learners Definition of comb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a flat piece of plastic or metal with a row of thin teeth that is used for making hair neat
: a device that is used for separating or straightening fibers (such as wool fibers)
: a soft part on top of the head of some birds (such as chickens)



English Language Learners Definition of comb (Entry 2 of 2)

: to smooth, arrange, or separate (hair or fibers) with a comb
: to search (something) very thoroughly in order to find something


\ ˈkōm How to pronounce comb (audio) \

Kids Definition of comb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a toothed implement used to smooth and arrange the hair or worn in the hair to hold it in place
2 : a soft fleshy part on top of the head of a chicken or some related birds
3 : honeycomb


combed; combing

Kids Definition of comb (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to smooth, arrange, or untangle with a comb
2 : to search over or through carefully Police combed the building in search of evidence.

More from Merriam-Webster on comb

Nglish: Translation of comb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of comb for Arabic Speakers


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