comb

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a fine-tooth comb

A phrase used to describe a way of doing something that is very careful and thorough. 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?
See also: comb

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?
See also: comb

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.
See also: comb, of, out

comb out

To remove something, such as debris or knots, from something by combing. A noun or pronoun can be used between "comb" and "out." Honey, please stop screaming and let me finish combing the tangles out.
See also: comb, out

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!
See also: comb, through

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!
See also: comb, cut

go over (something) with a fine-tooth comb

To scrutinize something; to look at something very carefully. We need to go over these files with a fine-tooth comb to find that missing paperwork. Make sure to go over your thesis with a fine-tooth comb before you hand it in—you don't want your advisors wading through proofreading errors, do you?
See also: comb, go, over

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?
See also: comb, go, through

run a comb through (one's) hair

To tidy one's hair with a comb, especially in a hasty, imprecise manner. Let me just run a comb through my hair before we leave for our dinner reservation. I tried to run a comb through his hair before his school photos, but it was too much of a mess.
See also: comb, hair, run, through

search (something) with a fine-tooth comb

To scrutinize something; to examine or look at something very carefully. We need to search these files with a fine-tooth comb to find that missing paperwork. Police already searched the crime scene with a fine-tooth comb, but they didn't find a shred of evidence.
See also: comb, search

with a fine-tooth comb

Very carefully and thoroughly. 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?
See also: comb

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.
See also: comb

comb something out of something

 and 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.
See also: comb, of, out

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.
See also: comb, through

go over something with a fine-tooth comb

 and 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.
See also: comb, go, over

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.
See also: comb, run, through

fine-tooth comb

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.
See also: comb

with a fine-tooth comb

or

with a fine-toothed comb

If you examine something with a fine-tooth comb or with a fine-toothed comb, you examine each small part of it very carefully. I have been through Ed's personal papers and letters with a fine-tooth comb. We will scrutinise our mistakes with a fine-toothed comb. Note: A fine-tooth comb is a comb with very thin teeth set very close together. It is used to remove lice and nits (= small insects and their eggs) from people's hair.
See also: comb

with a fine-tooth comb

(of examination or analysis) extremely thorough and detailed.
A literal fine-tooth comb is one with narrow teeth that are close together.
2003 CNN This budget has been gone over with a fine-tooth comb, and they don't see where another $3 billion or $4 billion in saving is going to come from.
See also: comb

go over/through something with a ˌfine-tooth ˈcomb

(informal) search or look at something very closely or carefully: I went through the accounts with a fine-tooth comb checking for mistakes.The police went through his room with a fine-tooth comb.
See also: comb, go, over, something, through

fine-tooth comb, to go over with a

To search for or investigate with scrupulous care. Although combs have been known since the time of ancient Egypt, and presumably some had finer teeth than others, the term “fine-tooth comb” dates only from the first half of the nineteenth century. The transfer of combing out nits to other kinds of search or investigation took place only in the late nineteenth century.
See also: go, over
References in periodicals archive ?
As part of the Madirisha show, Combes held a live a painting session one afternoon, where he demonstrated how he handles acrylics.
French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche reported Combes would
Combes is known to lie on her back mid-class, circling her legs with frog-kick--like motions (bending one leg in, extending it to the side, reaching it forward away from her body and then bending it in again) to keep her joints loose, especially before ronds de jambe en Fair, fondus and grands battements.
L'essentiel pour Dr Combes a proposer aux eleves, c'est de comprendre et de faire la recherche et proposer les solutions a travers l'esprit critique qu'on leur apprenne a gagner.
However, Combes has his work cut out for him; it was recently reported that the firm had posted a fourth-quarter loss of $1.81 billion.
"Our work shows clearly that the effect of environmental turbulence on flight stability is an important and previously unrecognized determinant of flight performance," said Combes. (ANI)
Many of Combes' paintings have been reproduced as signed and numbered limited-edition prints and canvases by The Greenwich Workshop.
Combes, on the other hand is facing up to 15 years in jail for possession of two loaded handguns.
Looking back, Combes now admits that her nervousness got in the way, partly because Bournonville is not her strong suit.
Combes is certainly doing his part, accepting a recent appointment to the position of project director for the Rhino Rescue Trust.
Combes is also accused of trying to bribe his driver to admit to the gun charge in exchange for a pounds 25,000 diamond ring given to him by ex-girlfriend, singer Jennifer Lopez.