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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Coomb \Coomb\, n. [AS. cumb a liquid measure, perh. from LL. cumba boat, tomb of stone, fr. Gr. ? hollow of a vessel, cup, boat, but cf. G. kumpf bowl.] A dry measure of four bushels, or half a quarter. [Written also comb.]


Coomb \Coomb\, Coombe \Coombe\, n. [See Comb, Combe, in this sense.] A hollow in a hillside. [Prov. Eng.] See Comb, Combe.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

also combe, "deep hollow or valley, especially on flank of a hill," mainly surviving in place names, from Old English cumb, probably a British word, from Celtic base *kumbos (compare Welsh cwm in same sense). Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names says, "This is usually taken to be a Celtic loan ... but there was also OE cumb 'vessel, cup, bowl,'" which was "probably used in a transferred topographical sense reinforced in western districts by cwm."


n. 1 An old English measure of corn (e.g., wheat), equal to half a quarter or 4 bushel. Also comb. 2 (alternative spelling of combe English)


Coomb is an alternate spelling of combe.

It may also refer to:

  • Arthur Coomb (born 1929), English cricketer
  • Coomb (unit), a 13th-century English liquid measurement by volume.
  • Coombs test, an aid to medical diagnosis.
  • Coomb Teak or , a medicinal tree.
Coomb (unit)

A coomb is a measure of volume. Its exact original details are not known. In 13th century England it was defined as 4 bushels (~140 L). It was in use in Norfolk until the 1790s or later, as a dry measure: "Ben sold my Wheat to the Marlingford Miller this Morning for 19 shillings per Coomb" - Parson Woodforde's Diary, May 20, 1786. The 4-bushel bag was the standard international shipping unit for grain, and the coomb was in common use in farming in Suffolk until well after the end of World War II, in fact for as long as grain was handled in sacks, a practice which ended with the introduction of combine harvesters which had bulk grain tanks.

Yields were referred to in coombs per acre. A coomb was 16 stones, or 2 hundredweights for Barley, 18 Stones for wheat and if I remember correctly 19 Stones and 20 Stones for beans and peas respectively.(16 Stones = ). The U.S grain markets quote prices as cents per bushel, and a US bushel of grain is about , which would approximately correspond to the 4 bushel coomb, 4 x 61 = .

Although seldom referred to in Suffolk today except in conversation, older farmers in North Germany will frequently refer to crop yields in Doppelzentner pro Morgen. The area of a Morgen varies a bit in different regions, but is believed to be derived from the area a man would plough in a morning (Morgen), and is about one third of , which is similar to an acre. A Doppelzentner is , and thus similar to a coomb. Similarly, the German word for an area of arable land is an Acker. It is easy to infer that the UK acre is derived from the same Germanic word base. It is interesting that the English and the German yield units are thus closely related, coombs per acre being similar to Doppelzentner pro Morgen.

Usage examples of "coomb".

Me thinks there is some hanky-panky between the neglected Lady Coombs and him.

There was the possibility, of course, that Lady Coombs and her daughter were merely passing through the market town, but even if that were the case, Tackar did not doubt his ability to track them from there.

Lord Stronbert was tempted to intervene in the confrontation, but Lady Coombs had rushed into the inn by that point and there seemed no further need.

The sound of laughter made him turn his head just as the Coombs ladies rounded the bend behind them.

Lady Coombs acknowledge their presence and attempt to stifle her mirth.

Lady Coombs, if you have not already, that the charges for all those at the Court are sent to me for payment.

Come and sit at my work table, Miss Coombs, and show me what you have in mind.

Lord Stronbert drew a chair up to the older group and engaged Lady Gorham in conversation so that his mother was forced to make some effort with Lady Coombs and Miss Carnworth.

Lady Coombs serves in the shop regularly, so I thought it wisest to concentrate on the young lady.

Miss Coombs is unlikely to ride with them that day, as she normally would.

When I followed the young people today, it was necessary for me to leave the lane because Miss Coombs happened to catch sight of me riding behind them.

Miss Coombs had met some friends with a mount for her, so she asked that I bring you this horse for your journey.

For he was sure it was Felicia and not her mother who was sobbing, though he knew Lady Coombs was suffering silently.

The deep-seated fear of men that he had already sensed in Lady Coombs had been strongly, violently reinforced for her and might never be overcome.

I shall suggest the latter to Lady Coombs, and you will support me if necessary, will you not?