by a hair's breadth

by a hair's breadth

By an extremely short distance or slim margin of time. They're just about to close the gates! It looks like we made the flight by a hair's breadth. The race was neck and neck till the very end, but Sally won it by a hair's breadth.
See also: breadth
References in classic literature ?
For the next four days he lived a simple and blameless life on thin captain's biscuits (I mean that the biscuits were thin, not the captain) and soda-water; but, towards Saturday, he got uppish, and went in for weak tea and dry toast, and on Monday he was gorging himself on chicken broth.
You have each escaped going to prison by a hair's breadth.