gnat

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down to a gnat's eyebrow

In consideration of the most minute detail. I have planned this itinerary down to a gnat's eyebrow, so we are not deviating from it, even for a minute!
See also: down, eyebrow

down to a gnat 's eyebrow

Fig. down to the smallest detail. He described what the thief was wearing down to a gnat's eyebrow. No use trying to sneak anything out of the refrigerator. Mom knows what's in there, down to a gnat's eyebrow.
See also: down, eyebrow, gnat

strain at gnats and swallow camels

Prov. to criticize other people for minor offenses while ignoring major offenses. (Biblical.) Jill: Look at that. Edward is combing his hair at his desk. How unprofessional. Jane: Don't strain at gnats and swallow camels. There are worse problems than that around here.
See also: and, camel, gnat, strain, swallow

strain at a gnat

LITERARY
If someone strains at a gnat, they concern themselves with something small and unimportant, sometimes failing to deal with something much more important. People worry over tiny differences in the fat content of food while eating huge quantities of sugar. It's a classic case of straining at a gnat. Note: You can also say that someone strains at a gnat and swallows a camel, with the same meaning. One must be wary of straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. Note: This expression comes from the Bible. Jesus used it when criticizing the scribes and the Pharisees for being too concerned with unimportant areas of the Jewish law. (Matthew 23:24)
See also: gnat, strain

strain at a gnat

make a difficulty about accepting something trivial. literary
The phrase derives from Matthew 23:24, ‘Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel’. The word strain here appears to mean ‘make a violent effort’, but it may in fact refer to the straining of a liquid to remove unwanted particles: the image is of a person quietly accepting a difficulty or problem of significant proportions while baulking at something comparatively trivial.
See also: gnat, strain