And whether it is something to straighten your hair or the fleshy red skin on a rooster’s head, the word comb comes from ‘gambha’ – a Sanskrit word for tooth.
Cockscomb is an alternative name. And a variation on that – coxcomb – also means a foolish, conceited person.
That’s why court jesters wore caps with combs on them – so that they could make fools of conceited people to entertain the court.
You may have read of the case reported earlier this year of a South African street artist who was prosecuted by a court in Paris for strapping a cockerel to his penis as part of his performance.
Or the cockerel in Derbyshire in England that crowed so loudly that the local council imposed a noise abatement notice on it for anti-social behaviour.
Strutting their stuff is what cockerels are all about.
The fleshy comb is designed to attract mates – and the more it can stand up and swell, the more attractive it is.