toothcomb

toothcomb
The expression toothcomb or (fine toothcomb) arose from a misreading of the compound noun fine-tooth comb (i.e. a comb with fine teeth). Purists will insist on the original form, but the altered form follows the familiar pattern of idioms that lose direct association with their origins, and is acceptable:

• A novel which has been picked over with toothcombs, in search of clues to ‘The Mystery’ —Times Literary Supplement, 1972.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • toothcomb — ► NOUN Brit. ▪ used with reference to a very thorough search: the police went over the area with a fine toothcomb. USAGE The forms toothcomb and fine toothcomb arose from a misreading of the compound noun fine tooth comb, i.e. a comb with narrow …   English terms dictionary

  • Toothcomb — This article is about the tooth structure, for the comb see nit comb. A toothcomb (tooth comb, dental comb) is an anatomical structure found in certain prosimians, in particular those in the suborder Strepsirrhini, which includes lemurs, galagos… …   Wikipedia

  • toothcomb — /ˈtuθkoʊm/ (say toohthkohm) noun 1. a comb with very fine teeth, usually at each edge. –phrase 2. with a fine toothcomb, in great detail; very painstakingly. {tooth + comb1} …   Australian English dictionary

  • toothcomb — noun An anatomical structure found in certain primates consisting of long, flat teeth with microscopic grooves, and used for grooming the fur …   Wiktionary

  • toothcomb — noun Brit. used with reference to a very thorough search: the police went over the area with a fine toothcombining Origin orig. from a misreading of the compound noun fine tooth comb …   English new terms dictionary

  • toothcomb — ˈ ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷ noun Britain : a comb with fine teeth * * * toothˈcomb noun A fine tooth(ed) comb (qv under ↑fine1) • • • Main Entry: ↑tooth …   Useful english dictionary

  • fine toothcomb — see toothcomb …   Modern English usage

  • fine-toothcomb — fine tooth comb (fīnʹto͞othʹ) or fine toothed comb ( to͞othtʹ, to͞othdʹ) n. 1. A comb with teeth set close together. 2. A method of searching or investigating in minute detail: examined the figures with a fine toothed comb but found no errors. *… …   Universalium

  • Slow loris — For the denial of service attack, see Slowloris. Slow lorises[1] Sunda slow loris Nycticebus coucang …   Wikipedia

  • Mesopropithecus — globiceps skull Conservation status …   Wikipedia

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