\ 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 The islands act like a comb that gather debris on its otherwise pristine beaches. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, "'If we're not up there cleaning up this threat, nobody is': Team hauls more than 47 tons of marine debris out of Pacific Ocean," 23 Apr. 2021 The islands act like a comb that gather debris on its otherwise pristine beaches. Caleb Jones, The Christian Science Monitor, "Hawaiian beach cleanup turns up more than 47 tons of debris," 23 Apr. 2021 The islands act like a comb that gather debris on its otherwise pristine beaches. Caleb Jones,, "Expedition hauls tons of plastic and abandoned fishing nets out of remote Hawaii atolls that threaten to entangle endangered animals," 22 Apr. 2021 The islands act like a comb that gather debris on its otherwise pristine beaches. Caleb Jones, Anchorage Daily News, "Expedition recovers tons of ‘ghost nets’ and plastic from remote Hawaiian atolls," 22 Apr. 2021 Vets recommend initially brushing your pet with a flea comb to remove any fleas. Kala Herh, NBC News, "How to get rid of fleas, according to veterinarians," 1 Apr. 2021 Jewelry was kept minimal—the bride wore simple pearl Chan Luu drop earrings and a pearl comb on her veil that her mom, hair accessories designer Jade Tran, made. Shira Savada, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Jewelry Designer Opted for a No-Fuss, All-Fashion Wedding in Baja," 8 Mar. 2021 This set contains a double-sided wooden comb perfect for detangling different hair textures and a brush. Fiona Tapp, CNN Underscored, "All the products you need to care for your lockdown facial hair," 5 Mar. 2021 Just like other Model 110 rifles, the Ultralight has Savage’s Accutrigger and Accufit stock, which give a shooter the ability to adjust length-of-pull and comb height at home. Mike Dickerson, Field & Stream, "14 Lightweight Hunting Rifles For Every Budget," 18 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For a more intensive treatment: Apply raw coconut oil to dry hair and comb through. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "How to Use Coconut Oil for Stronger, Healthier Hair," 15 Apr. 2021 Soon, however, those halcyon days will be gone, gone forever, and I will be expected to maintain proper hygiene, comb my hair, and begin wearing shirts that don’t look like tents., "Losing Ned Kelly," 25 Mar. 2021 Desperate to relieve their suffering, people with chronic back pain who comb the internet looking for help sometimes stumble upon a device called the DRX9000. NBC News, "Patients pay thousands for back pain treatment — with little scientific evidence that it works," 18 Nov. 2020 My mother would accuse me of using it to comb my hair. Washington Post, "The beat goes on. And on. Readers sing the praises of the humble eggbeater.," 24 Feb. 2021 Lee recommends holding the wand vertically to hit your roots and corners with the smaller end to start, then using the wide part of the brush to comb through to the ends. Caitlin Kenny,, "We Tried The £10 High Street Mascara TikTok Is Obsessed With," 18 Feb. 2021 Saturday’s ceremony is expected to be repeated as the United Nations and other organizations comb through dozens of mass graves yet to be exhumed. New York Times, "Years After a Massacre, Yazidis Finally Bury Their Loved Ones," 7 Feb. 2021 Brilliant Glow Brightening Oil for shine before giving Cardi a spritz of JoiMist Firm Finishing Spray to comb the hairs into place. Nicola Dall'asen, Glamour, "Cardi B's Hair Was Pastel Pink and Shorter Than Ever at the Grammys," 14 Mar. 2021 Although health departments in larger counties have the ability to comb through and refine daily COVID-19 data, the pandemic has presented challenges for smaller counties that don’t have their own health departments. Dallas News, "Smaller counties face unique challenges reporting COVID-19 data," 28 Dec. 2020

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

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Comb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on comb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for comb

Nglish: Translation of comb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of comb for Arabic Speakers

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