\ 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)

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun These include a wide-tooth comb for curly and coiled hair, two round volumizing brushes, and four smoothing brushes with hard and soft bristles. Andrea Aguila, Glamour, 21 July 2022 As a wealthy builder with an ever-present comb-over, a penchant for populist diatribes and no filter, Hernández has drawn comparisons to former president Donald Trump. Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, 7 June 2022 Bathe your pets with a shampoo that your veterinarian would approve of, and use a flea comb, especially around your pet's face and neck and near the base of the tail. Jamie Kim, Good Housekeeping, 29 Apr. 2022 Another swivels restlessly as a barber takes a comb to his hair. New York Times, 27 Apr. 2022 The brand recommends using this to comb and detangle in the shower after coating your hair with conditioner. ELLE, 1 July 2022 Pair with your fav, tried and true edge control, and use the comb side to shape your edges and the brush to smooth them. Essence, 23 June 2022 And speaking of Pattern Beauty, this slender, dual-sided tool from the brand features a comb and stiff bristle brush to help sculpt your baby hair. Tiffany Dodson, Harper's BAZAAR, 24 June 2022 Inside, there are two mainplates, each of which holds a movement consisting of a mainspring, a cylinder, a comb and regulator. Roberta Naas, Forbes, 4 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Police closed Groesbeck between 12 Mile and Martin roads for hours Tuesday while investigators and crime scene techs appeared to comb the pavement for clues and seek witnesses and video of the area from nearby businesses. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 26 Apr. 2022 Investigators comb through houses, looking for papers that might contain seed phrases or passcodes or keys. Alex Morris, Rolling Stone, 8 July 2022 Leifer suggests that using algorithms to comb through satellite images could become a powerful and accessible method for assessing the effectiveness of efforts to prevent oil spills. Sasha Warren, Scientific American, 16 June 2022 As investigators comb territory around Kyiv from which Russian forces withdrew in early April, mass civilian graves have been found in most towns. Anchorage Daily News, 16 Apr. 2022 In Bucha alone, Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said 403 bodies had been found and the toll could rise as minesweepers comb the area. The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Apr. 2022 Searchers have been using hand tools, metal detectors, drones and sniffer dogs to comb the heavily forested and steep slopes. NBC News, 24 Mar. 2022 Searchers had been using hand tools, drones and sniffer dogs under rainy conditions to comb the heavily forested slopes for the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, as well as any human remains. Ng Han Guan And Ken Moritsugu, USA TODAY, 23 Mar. 2022 The young man is one of scores of volunteers who comb the neighborhoods for residents in need. Washington Post, 30 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near comb

coma vigil



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Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Comb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for comb


\ 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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