One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A long curling sea wave.‘the combers, glassy blue-green, moved slowly in’
wave, breaker, roller, billowView synonyms
- ‘I was caught in a comber of snow - a maelstrom like the break of a tsunami.’
- ‘Then a heavy comber shook my plane violently, tossing me from the cockpit into the water.’
2A person or machine that prepares cotton or wool for manufacture by separating and straightening the fibres.
- ‘The majority of combers, spinners, cob winders, spoolers, beamers, weavers, menders, and other workers (about three hundred in all) were female.’
- ‘What I never knew until now is that February 3, the day after Candlemas, is the Feast of St Blaise, the patron saint of wool combers.’
A small fish that gapes when dead, occurring in shallow waters from the western English Channel to the Mediterranean.Also called gaper
- ‘On rocky rummages in the shallows you might spy damsel fish, red mullet, painted combers and rainbow wrasse before they dart off.’
- ‘It was interesting to observe how his copious nosebleed excited the fish, which came tumbling in to find out what was going on - the grouper, always inquisitive anyway, bream, combers and damselfish.’
Mid 18th century: of unknown origin.
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