by a hair

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Related to hairbreadth: hair's breadth, hairsbreadth

by a hair('s breadth)

 and by a whisker
Fig. just barely; by a very small distance. I just missed getting on the plane by a hair's breadth. I made it onto the last flight by a hair!
See also: hair

by a hair

Also, by a hairbreadth or whisker . Very narrowly. For example, His serve was out by a hair, or We made our flight by a hairbreadth, or Dad missed hitting the pole by a whisker. The first two hyperboles for the very narrowest margin date from the 1300s and 1400s respectively; whisker meaning "a small amount" was first recorded in 1913. Also see by the skin of one's teeth; hang by a hair.
See also: hair
References in periodicals archive ?
Dennehy's Tyrone appears massive and protective, but a hairbreadth away from hurtful.
The Igbo nation have always lived in a world of continual struggle, motion and change," Achebe asserts, "a feature conspicuous in the tautness, overreach and torsion of their art; it is like a tightrope walk, a hairbreadth brush with the boundaries of anarchy.
As much fun as it would be to tell of hardships and hairbreadth escapes, she confesses, "It was so easy.
In the 20th century we had seven such hairbreadth elections--1900, 1908, 1916, 1948, 1960, 1968 and 1976.
The Dow ended its foray into 10K territory by closing just a hairbreadth away: Less than three points.
This is the benign flipside of the benighted view of Africa, a kind of well-meaningness that's just a hairbreadth away from condescension: "Isn't it inspiring how those plucky Africans manage to make beauty even amid misery and squalor," or, less charitably, "They may have made a mess of things, but they sure can dance.
The lovelife of Weatherford," he claimed, "his dauntless gallantry, his marvellous personal adventures and hairbreadth escapes, and, chief of all, his wonderful eloquence, which eventually saved his life, when all other means would have failed, afford as fine a theme for the poet as any in American history" (p.
This allows us to come within a hairbreadth of Southwest's cost for similar flying.
When they got safely back within Ohio, they told a tale of hairbreadth escape from bloodthirsty Michiganians that aroused great indignation.
As in all good Gothic fiction, Fevvers's adventures repeatedly save her with hairbreadth escapes from unwillingly losing her supposed maidenhead, though Fevvers also raises a crucial question about such a traditional patriarchal narrative schema en route: "Wherein does a woman's honour reside, old chap?
Bashaw was at Stage 3C, which is a hairbreadth away from a Stage 4 (terminal) diagnosis.
The dollar hovered within a hairbreadth range in mid-90 yen territory in the morning but gradually moved downward to the lower 90 yen level in the afternoon.
Suspended a hairbreadth above this colorful, flattened slice of outer space is an off-white, open-volumed sculpture assembled from interlocking drinking straws covered in painted fiberglass, vaguely resembling a cartoon depiction of an orbiting satellite.
The plot is a long-drawn-out saga of her hairbreadth escapes, insupportable confinements, wild gallops through picturesque countryside, interactions with friendly beasts such as kangaroos and dingos, and longings for a young black stallion.
Robert McNamara, secretary of defense in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, acknowledges that during the Cuban missile crisis "we came within a hairbreadth of nuclear war without realizing it.