comb / kōm/ • n. 1. a strip of plastic, metal, or wood with a row of narrow teeth, used for untangling or arranging the hair. ∎ [in sing.] an instance of untangling or arranging the hair with such a device: she gave her hair a comb. ∎ a short curved device of this type, worn by women to hold hair in place or as an ornament.2. something resembling a comb in function or structure, in particular: ∎ a device for removing loose hair from an animal, esp. a dog or cat. ∎ a device for separating and dressing textile fibers. ∎ a row of brass points for collecting the electricity in an electrostatic generator.3. the red fleshy crest on the head of a domestic fowl, esp. a rooster.4. short for honeycomb (sense 1).• v. [tr.] 1. untangle or arrange (the hair) by drawing a comb through it. ∎ (comb something out) remove something from the hair by drawing a comb through it. ∎ curry (a horse).2. prepare (wool, flax, or cotton) for manufacture with a comb. ∎ [usu. as adj.] (combed) treat (a fabric) in such a way: soft combed cotton.3. search carefully and systematically: police combed the area [intr.] his mother combed through the boxes. DERIVATIVES: comb·like / -ˌlīk/ adj.
Hence comb vb. XIV; repl. kemb, OE. cemban (:- Gmc. *kambjan), which survives in UNKEMPT.