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Anglo-Saxon cumb a liquid measure, perhaps from Latin cumba boat, tomb of stone, from Ancient Greek hollow of a vessel, cup, boat, but compare German Kumpf bowl.


coomb (plural coombs)

  1. An old English measure of corn (e.g., wheat), equal to half a quarter or 4 bushels. Also comb.
    • 1866, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, volume 1, page 168:
      It was equal to half a quarter, i.e. is identical with the coomb of the eastern counties.
    • 1790 July 13, Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Secretary of State, Plan for establishing uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United States," report communicated to the House of Representatives:
      Two kilderkins, or strikes, make a measure called a barrel, liquid, and a coomb, dry; this last term being ancient and little used.
  2. Alternative spelling of combe.
    • 1896, Tomas Hardy, chapter 4, The Mayor of Casterbridge:
      From the centre of each side of this tree-bound square ran avenues east, west, and south into the wide expanse of corn-land and coomb to the distance of a mile or so.