a person who lives by gathering salable articles of jetsam, refuse, etc., from beaches.
a vagrant who lives on the seashore, especially a nonnative person living in such a way on a South Pacific island.
a long wave rolling in from the ocean onto the beach.
Historical Examples

It is the paradise of the adventurer and the adventuress, of the gambler, the beach-comber, and the long-chance promoter.
Drugging a Nation Samuel Merwin

I guess I’m more of a beach-comber by nature than anything else.
Moran of the Lady Letty Frank Norris

Moran took this end and drew it out between the beach-comber’s teeth, then pushed it back slowly.
Moran of the Lady Letty Frank Norris

Now Joel Latham was a tsith-addict, a beach-comber at Venusport.
One Purple Hope! Henry Hasse

Don’t you worry; no beach-comber like that can stand up long in front of me.
Parrot & Co. Harold MacGrath

For of such is the paradise of the beach-comber, and the hell of the clean man.
The Cruise of the Cachalot Frank T. Bullen

The beach-comber instinct should be strong in all sane minds.
Science in Arcady Grant Allen

He had no money now, and he had become a beach-comber in the real sense of the word.
Ranson’s Folly Richard Harding Davis

All had indeed some touch of the poetic; for the beach-comber, when not a mere ruffian, is the poor relation of the artist.
The Wrecker Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne

beach-comber, a fellow who prowls about the sea-shore to plunder wrecks, and pick up waifs and strays of any kind.
The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten

a person who searches shore debris for anything of worth, esp a vagrant living on a beach
(Canadian) (in British Columbia) a person who is paid for salvaging loose logs and returning them to logging companies
a long high wave rolling onto a beach

1840, from beach (n.) + agent noun from comb (v.).


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