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
- ‘Then a heavy comber shook my plane violently, tossing me from the cockpit into the water.’
- ‘I was caught in a comber of snow - a maelstrom like the break of a tsunami.’
2A person or machine that separates and straightens the fibers of cotton or wool.
- ‘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.
Serranus cabrilla, family SerranidaeAlso called gaper
- ‘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.’
- ‘On rocky rummages in the shallows you might spy damsel fish, red mullet, painted combers and rainbow wrasse before they dart off.’
Mid 18th century: of unknown origin.
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