A borrowing from Livonian kamm, plural kämm, itself a borrowing from a Germanic language (cf. German Kamm), from Proto-Germanic *kambaz, from Proto-Indo-European *ǵómbʰos (“tooth”) (whence also Latvian zobs (“tooth”)), from *ǵembʰ- (“to bite, chew”). The original meaning was probably “toothed object.” This term is first attested (as kammes, kemmes, the e form coming from the original Germanic plural, and also from the influence of simultaneously borrowed ķemmēt (“to comb”); cf. German kämmen) in the 17th century, replacing the previous more general word suka (nowadays only “brush”).
ķemme f (5th declension)
- comb (a toothed implement used for grooming one's hair)
- raga, koka ķemme — horn, wooden comb
- metāla, kaula, plastmasas ķemme — metal, bone, plastic comb
- bieza ķemme — fine-tooth(ed) (lit. thick) comb
- reta ķemme — wide-tooth(ed) (lit. rare, thin) comb