Old English camb "comb, crest, honeycomb" (later Anglian comb), from Proto-Germanic *kambaz (source also of Old Saxon and Old High German camb, German Kamm, Middle Dutch cam, Dutch kam, Old Norse kambr), literally "toothed object," from PIE *gombhos, from root *gembh- "to bite, tooth" (source also of Greek gomphos "a molar tooth," Sanskrit gambha-s "tooth").
late 14c. (implied in past participle kombid), verb derived from comb (n.); replacing the former verb, Old English cemban, which however survives in unkempt. Related: Combed; combing.
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