Originally a variant of Helen, although now no longer associated with that name. Initial H- tended to be added and dropped rather capriciously, leading to many doublets (compare for example Esther and Hester). It is also sometimes used as a short form of Eleanor, to which, however, it is unrelated.
English: occupational name from Middle English combere, an agent derivative of Old English camb ‘comb’, referring perhaps to a maker or seller of combs, or to someone who used them to prepare wool or flax for spinning. This was an alternative process to carding, and caused the wool fibers to lie more or less parallel to one another, so that the cloth produced had a hard, smooth finish without a nap.