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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English *comb, *cumb (> Scots cumb, coom (tub, cistern)), from Old English cumb (a vessel; a liquid measure), from Proto-Germanic *kumbaz (bowl, vessel). Compare German Kumpf (bowl).

Alternatively, perhaps from Latin cumba (boat, tomb of stone), from Ancient Greek κύμβη (kúmbē, hollow of a vessel, cup, boat).


coomb (plural coombs)

  1. An old English measure of corn (e.g., wheat), equal to half a quarter or 4 bushels.
    • 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.
Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English cumb, from Proto-Brythonic (compare Welsh cwm), from Proto-Celtic *kumbā.


coomb (plural coombs)

  1. Alternative spelling of combe
    • 1896, Thomas Hardy, chapter 4, in 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.