comb(redirected from combing)
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cut (one's) comb
To humble someone who is acting arrogant. If he brags about his straight A's one more time, I'm going to remind him how bad his grades were last year. That should cut his comb! I'm really proud of this accomplishment, so stop trying to cut my comb!
go through (something) with a fine-tooth comb
To scrutinize something; to look at something very carefully. We need to go through these files with a fine-tooth comb to find that missing paperwork. Make sure to go through your thesis with a fine-tooth comb before you hand it in—you don't want your advisors wading through proofreading errors, do you?
comb (something) for (someone or something)
To look through an area in an attempt to find someone or something in particular. We combed the wreckage for survivors but still haven't found any. I've been combing the house for my glasses—have you seen them?
comb (something) out of (something)
To remove something, such as debris or knots, from something by combing. My poor daughter cries every time I try to comb the tangles out of her hair.
comb through (something)
To carefully look through an area or an item in an attempt to find someone or something. We combed through the wreckage but still haven't found any survivors. I combed through my bag in search of my glasses, and they were on my head the whole time!
comb something for someone or something
Fig. to look all over or all through something for a particular person or thing. The police combed the entire neighborhood for the criminals. I combed the entire house for the missing paper.
comb something out of somethingand comb something out
to remove substances or knots and snarls from something by combing. I had to comb the gum out of her hair. It took me over an hour to comb out the gum.
comb through something
Fig. to look through something, examining it thoroughly. I combed through all my belongings, looking for the lost papers. The vet combed through the dog's coat, looking for tick bites.
go over something with a fine-tooth comband search something with a fine-tooth comb; go through something with a fine-tooth comb
Fig. to search through something very carefully. I can't find my calculus book. I went over the whole place with a fine-tooth comb. I searched this place with a fine-tooth comb and didn't find my ring.
run a comb through something
to comb one's hair quickly. Run a comb through your hair after you come back in the house. She ran a comb through Timmy's hair, and tried to make him look presentable.
go over something with a fine-tooth combalso go through something with a fine-tooth comb
to examine every part of something very carefully My accountant is going over my tax return with a fine-tooth comb.
Usage notes: also used in the form fine-toothed comb
with a fine-tooth comb
if you examine something with a fine-tooth comb, you examine every part of it very carefully I'd advise you to examine your insurance policy with a fine-tooth comb to make sure you're covered if you take your car abroad.
A method of searching or investigating in minute detail, as in He examined the figures with a fine-tooth comb but found no errors. The practice of using a comb with close-set teeth to comb out head lice was transferred to various kinds of investigation in the late 1800s.