Definition of comb in English:



  • 1A strip of plastic, metal, or wood with a row of narrow teeth, used for untangling or arranging the hair.

    • ‘I stood in the mirror, dragging the comb through my neatly trimmed hair.’
    • ‘He took out his pocket comb and ran it through his thinning hair.’
    • ‘I dressed quickly in the clothes set out and I ran a wooden comb through my long dark hair.’
    • ‘Some kind of comb was dragged through my hair, leaving a burning path along my scalp.’
    • ‘After breaking another tooth off of my comb, I realized that my hair was the boss.’
    • ‘I ran a comb through my own hair and stared dejectedly at my reflection.’
    • ‘He stumbled to the bathroom, brushed his teeth, and ran a wet comb through his hair.’
    • ‘Try coating the hair with mineral oil and using a special nit comb to remove them more easily.’
    • ‘Towel dry the hair and use a wide toothed comb or pick to untangle.’
    • ‘Otherwise, find a comb with very fine teeth: the space between the teeth of the comb should be no more than 0.3 mm.’
    • ‘Use a wide toothed comb to distribute the mixture through the hair.’
    • ‘Sighing, I grabbed a comb and began untangling the knots in my black hair.’
    • ‘This involves lifting the hair with a metal comb and burning off the ends with a lighted taper.’
    • ‘She stood behind her mother, ivory comb in hand, brushing through the voluminous red hair.’
    • ‘However, combing through the hair with a louse comb and examining the teeth of the comb for living lice detects more cases than direct visualization alone.’
    • ‘Grimacing, she pulled the comb through her tangled mass of long brown hair.’
    • ‘She pulled a comb out of her pocket and started to brush my hair.’
    • ‘I took the fine toothed comb and skimmed my hair.’
    • ‘I quickly brushed my teeth and ran a comb through my hair.’
    • ‘A man looked at him through a mirror in the bathroom, comb in hand.’
    1. 1.1[in singular]An act of untangling or arranging the hair with comb.
      ‘she gave her hair a comb’
      • ‘With a quick comb of her hair, and the applying of a light coat of make-up and a flowery fragrance, she was out the door.’
      • ‘Giving my hair a quick comb through with my fingers I turned around to see that the door was open.’
      • ‘I've taken to wearing baseball caps instead of having a slight comb in the morning.’
    2. 1.2A short curved type of comb, worn by women to hold the hair in place or as an adornment.
      ‘her hair was held back with two tortoiseshell combs’
      • ‘On top were two simple silver combs to pull your hair back.’
      • ‘He slowly reached up his hand to brush away the wet hair that was clinging to her face, escaped from the hair combs which had been lost in the depths of the water.’
      • ‘Vincent sat on her bed and watched her, captivated, as she stood before the mirror, adjusting the comb in her disheveled hair.’
      • ‘No hats, combs, kerchiefs or anything but hair should be on your head.’
      • ‘She grabbed her comb and a hair tie then put her thick, black hair into a high ponytail.’
      • ‘He was going to curl my short auburn hair and put it up in combs so the ringlets would lay all over the place.’
      • ‘Jeweled combs also made a huge splash at the Golden Globes.’
      • ‘Besides the explosion of headbands and jeweled hair combs, watch for a continual rise in the popularity of all types of silk and couture hair flowers.’
      • ‘She sprayed perfume around herself into the air, and pinned the crystal combs into her hair.’
      • ‘Adorn your new curls with your favorite accessories such as headbands, jeweled side combs or similar.’
      • ‘‘Finished,’ I called out and pulled the gold combs out of my hair as he turned back to face me.’
      • ‘Soak hair-care items like combs, barrettes, hair ties or bands, headbands, and brushes in rubbing alcohol or medicated shampoo for 1 hour.’
      • ‘Another woman eats an ice cream as her young daughter eyes the sparkly hair bobbles and shiny combs in a shop window.’
      • ‘A large tortoiseshell comb in her hair saved her life.’
      • ‘Her hair was swept back with jeweled silver combs and diamond-stud hair pins into a smooth chignon.’
      • ‘These are worn with mantillas (lacy scarves worn over the hair and shoulders), long earrings, and hair ornaments such as combs or flowers.’
      • ‘She wasn't wearing anything that could be considered feminine except maybe her hair comb.’
      • ‘She reached up and pulled the combs from her hair.’
  • 2Something resembling a comb in function or structure, in particular.

    1. 2.1A device for separating and dressing textile fibres.
      • ‘If a comb was used, this would be to get the fibres parallel.’
    2. 2.2Australian, NZ The lower, fixed cutting piece of a sheep-shearing machine.
      • ‘James Higham took out the first patent for such a machine, comprising a hand-held comb and mechanised cutter, in 1868.’
    3. 2.3A row of brass points for collecting the electricity in an electrostatic generator.
  • 3The red fleshy crest on the head of a domestic fowl, especially a cock.

    ‘a grey-speckled hen with a red comb and wattles’
    • ‘There are seven distinctive types of combs alone on chickens - rose, strawberry, single, cushion, buttercup, pea, and V-shaped, in case you were wondering.’
    • ‘Maternal mass was correlated with male offspring mass and comb length.’
    • ‘At a given moment two observers independently ranked a specific male comb size.’
    • ‘Cracids may have a casque, hard comb, wattle or fleshy knob at the base of the bill.’
    • ‘As in other grouse species, red grouse combs are larger and brighter in males, and their size is testosterone-dependent.’
    • ‘A new wave of face-smoothing shots derived from a variety of substances, including rooster combs and newborn foreskin, are expected to hit the market soon.’
    • ‘Resplendent in bright orange, black and red, his comb, wattles and ear lobes have been shorn off.’
    • ‘My shadow was moderately tall and skinny, rat's nest hair silhouetted like a rooster's comb.’
    • ‘For example, a rooster's comb contains a hyaluronic acid that can be injected into your face to smooth those wrinkles.’
    • ‘However, although males can control comb size, they cannot hide their combs completely.’
    • ‘And instead of pheromones, they depend on beautiful feathers and combs to attract mates.’
    • ‘They get the name rooster because the dorsal fin looks similar to the comb on a cockerel's head.’
    • ‘For instance, the comb of a male jungle fowl deteriorates when the bird is infested with a gut parasite, but the parasite has no effect on its plumage.’
    • ‘The finely woven patterns in the feathers and wings, combs and waddles, beaks and tails, run in three directions: horizontally, vertically and diagonally.’
    • ‘Males with longer combs are preferred as mates and are more likely to win in aggressive encounters, so we wanted to see if changes in immune status were reflected in comb length or other ornamental characters.’
    • ‘Expression of combs and wattles is directly connected to androgen production, whereas feather ornament size seldom depends on current levels of testosterone secretion.’
    • ‘The female's plumage is overall gray-brown and the male appears similar, although he has orange-yellow combs over the eyes and light gray tail feathers.’
    • ‘The combs and neck sacs of males become enlarged during the breeding season.’
  • 4

    short for honeycomb
    • ‘Honey bees occasionally invade homes and establish a colony, building combs of wax containing honey, pollen and brood in wall spaces.’
    • ‘Chewing a piece of comb honey daily often helps to clear the nose and sinuses during hay fever attacks.’
    • ‘A bird builds a nest, or the rabbit a burrow, the bee its comb, the beaver a dam, by nature, as Aristotle would say.’


  • 1Untangle or arrange (the hair) by drawing a comb through it.

    ‘she combed her hair and put some lipstick on’
    ‘neatly combed hair’
    • ‘Her brown, frizzy hair was neatly combed and in a barrette.’
    • ‘His hair had been combed neatly and he was wearing a hint of cologne when he outreached his hand for her.’
    • ‘Michael had thick caramel brown hair, which was combed to the side.’
    • ‘His rather fashionable beard has been carefully combed and so has his shoulder-length hair.’
    • ‘His hair was neatly combed back and he looked very handsome.’
    • ‘Her red hair has been neatly combed back and braided.’
    • ‘He gently combed the tangles out of her hair and deftly plaited a long simple braid.’
    • ‘Slightly built, with neatly combed gray hair and a trimmed mustache, he looks out at us through thick eyeglasses.’
    • ‘He was muscular, and had wonderful chestnut brown hair that was combed perfectly to the side.’
    • ‘His thinning hair, once carefully combed to the side, began to work its way loose.’
    • ‘His normally messy, disheveled brown hair was neatly combed back, revealing his big green eyes.’
    • ‘His hair was neatly combed back, and he held an umbrella over his head.’
    • ‘My hair was combed neatly this time, and I wore a bit more makeup than I usually did (which consisted of eyeliner and lip-gloss).’
    • ‘Her blonde hair was carefully combed, and she had put too much make-up.’
    • ‘He combed out all the tangles and made it shine even more.’
    • ‘Her marvelous hair was shining brighter and was combed perfectly.’
    • ‘His hair was neatly combed and his beard looked smooth.’
    • ‘For once, his hair had been combed neatly for the occasion.’
    • ‘He picked up his blazer to hide his wrinkled dress shirt, and quickly combed his fingers through his hair.’
    groom, untangle, disentangle, smooth out, straighten, arrange, neaten, tidy, dress, rake
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    1. 1.1Remove something in the hair by drawing a comb through it.
      ‘she combed the burrs out of the dog's coat’
      • ‘He gently combed the tangles out of her hair and deftly plaited a long simple braid.’
      • ‘Jane ran her fingers through her hair, combing the tangles out as she harshly pulled her hands through the snarls.’
      • ‘My hair's knots were combed out painlessly and I was redressed in fresh linen.’
      • ‘Head lice are hard to spot on the hair but can be removed, and then identified, by combing them out.’
      • ‘‘There's men approaching the wall, Commander,’ he said as he tried to comb the icicles out of his beard with his gloved fingers.’
      • ‘The oil washes out with regular shampoo and the nits can be combed out easily because the oil loosens them.’
      • ‘I put her into the house, took the dogs for their walk, and came back to find her reasonably dry and silky apart from the tail which she had given up on - I combed the mud out of it while she screeched with fury and tried to bite me.’
      • ‘I smiled happily, dried and dressed myself, and combed the tangles out of my hair.’
      • ‘After brushing my teeth and combing the knots out of my shoulder length hair I went to the wardrobe to retrieve the uniform I was to wear today.’
      • ‘When you get home you have to comb it out of your hair.’
      • ‘‘Good morning,’ I say, trying to comb the tangles out of my wet hair.’
  • 2Prepare (wool, flax, or cotton) for manufacture with a comb.

    ‘the wool had been cleaned and combed’
    ‘the socks are made of soft combed cotton’
    • ‘She is combing out flax and keeping herself cheerful with a pitcher of wine.’
    • ‘The fibres damaged the skin on the women's hands if their job was to comb the flax by hand.’
    • ‘The second largest wool combing plant in Australia closed its doors.’
    • ‘They were made of long wool fibers that were first combed to straighten them, spun tightly then woven in fancy weave structures.’
    • ‘All the literature said you had to ret the fibres and then comb them, basically an industrial process.’
    separate, dress, card, tease, hackle, heckle, hatchel
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  • 3Search carefully and systematically.

    ‘police combed the area for the murder weapon’
    [no object] ‘his mother combed through the cardboard boxes’
    • ‘But it will still take us some time to comb through the evidence and make sure that we're not missing anything.’
    • ‘The murder scene was sealed off yesterday as forensic experts combed for clues.’
    • ‘Television footage showed clothing strewn on the charred ground and investigators combing the site at night behind a cordon.’
    • ‘But you'll have to comb through humbling rosters of seven-figure properties first.’
    • ‘He was daydreaming about them combing the market for horses when he collided with someone.’
    • ‘The U.S. Congress has about five different committees, and they are combing through documents.’
    • ‘I had been combing through the wreckage, searching for anyone that might have survived.’
    • ‘Police are combing the streets, handing out flyers and watching airports and bus terminals.’
    • ‘More than 130 experts comb the fair before the opening to remove questionable items.’
    • ‘The Commissioner, however, spent the time engaging an army of investigators to comb through union records.’
    • ‘Organized gangs located potential victims by combing through the White Pages, and they paid for the postage with bogus stamps.’
    • ‘Multipliers are the biggy for linking tricks, and after combing through a course a few times, players can locate and nail these for bragging rights.’
    • ‘Fatal crash investigators combed the scene yesterday and would return today to continue their investigations.’
    • ‘Her disappearance provoked a massive public response, and hundreds of police officers combed the city streets.’
    • ‘He spent a long time combing through the patient records before coming across the professor's signature.’
    • ‘I spent most of yesterday combing through ads and making phone calls.’
    • ‘Officers combed surrounding counties for tear gas, sprays, concussion grenades, and munitions.’
    • ‘Divorce lawyers say clients are furious that neighbors are combing through the details of their cases (and are even brazen enough to discuss them with them).’
    • ‘They combed through medical records and found 1,458 wrist fractures.’
    • ‘They're still combing through the wreckage now, trying to figure out what exactly happened.’
    search, scour, look around in, explore, sweep, probe, hunt through, look through, scrabble about in, scrabble around in, root about in, root around in, ferret, ferret about in, ferret around in, rummage about in, rummage around in, rummage round in, rummage in, rummage through, forage through, fish about in, fish around in, poke about in, poke around in, dig in, grub about in, grub around in, delve in, go through, sift through, rake, rifle through, ransack, turn over, go through with a fine-tooth comb
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Old English camb, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kam and German Kamm.