comb

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

Construction

  • A tool used to produce a rough surface or pattern in plaster or concrete.
  • A comb board.

Origin & History of “comb”

Comb is an ancient word, which has been traced back to an Indo-European *gombhos. this appears to have signified ‘tooth’, for among its other descendants were Sanskrit jámbhas ‘tooth’ and Greek góphos ‘pin, tooth’. In prehistoric west and north Germanic it became *kambaz, which produced English comb, German kamm, and Dutch kam (probably borrowed into English in the 18th century as cam, originally ‘projecting cog-like part on a wheel for transferring motion’). The Old English verb formed from comb lasted dialectally as kemb until the 19th century, but today it survives only in unkempt.

The origin of the word’s application to honeycomb, first recorded in the 13th century, is not known.
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