split hairs, to

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split hairs

To make or focus on trivial or petty details, differences, or distinctions. I'm sorry to split hairs, but your portion of the bill is $25.97, not $25.79. I actually think it was your responsibility, not Dave's, but let's not split hairs about it.
See also: hair, split
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

split hairs

Fig. to quibble; to try to make petty distinctions. They don't have any serious differences. They are just splitting hairs. Don't waste time splitting hairs. Accept it the way it is.
See also: hair, split
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

split hairs

Make trivial distinctions, quibble, as in Let's not split hairs about whose turn it is; I'll close up today and you do it tomorrow. This metaphoric idiom transfers dividing so fine an object as a single hair to other petty divisions. [Second half of 1600s]
See also: hair, split
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

split hairs

If someone splits hairs, they argue about very small details or find very small differences between things which are really very similar. More than half the cases they complained about were not, in fact, on Garzon's list, but let's not split hairs. Don't split hairs. You know what I'm getting at. Note: You can also accuse someone of hair-splitting. We were becoming impatient with hair-splitting over legal technicalities.
See also: hair, split
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

split hairs

make small and overfine distinctions.
This expression was first recorded in the late 17th century. Split straws, dating from the 19th century, is a less common version.
See also: hair, split
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

split ˈhairs

(disapproving) pay too much attention in an argument to differences that are very small and not important: You might think I’m just splitting hairs, but what exactly do you mean by ‘a significant improvement’? ▶ ˈhair-splitting noun
See also: hair, split
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

split hairs

To see or make trivial distinctions; quibble.
See also: hair, split
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

split hairs, to

To make petty, unnecessarily fine distinctions. The analogy between splitting so fine a material as a hair and making fine distinctions was drawn by Shakespeare’s time. “I’ll cavil on the ninth part of a hair,” he wrote (Henry IV, Part 1, 3.1). It was probably already a cliché by the time Douglas Jerrold wrote (The Chronicles of Clovernook, 1846), “His keen logic would split hairs as a bill-hook would split logs.”
See also: split
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
NOT ONE to split hairs - the Contemporary Hair Doctor experts took to the streets of Middlesbrough on Saturday to offer the public the latest hair advice.
SIMON Cowell refused to split hairs last night with singing duo Guilty Pleasures.
To discuss the Hellfire Club as the context for erotica without discussing Wilkes (a member of the club), or the sexual images in his poetry because of its pornographic (rather than erotic) associations does a disservice to the sexual context of the eighteenth century and seems to be a way to split hairs. These hairs are central for understanding the politics of sexuality and the sexuality of politics during the period when the members of the Beggar's Benison were noted freetraders, as David Stevenson has shown; to avoid them is to render the period bald and bland.
To split hairs: to argue about small, unimportant differences.
"He said he had decided to stay with Bradford anyway, but I'm not going to split hairs.
And to split hairs, isn't "in silico" really "in vitro"?
If you really want to split hairs, the largest mammal in North America is the Pacific walrus--with bulls weighing 3,000 pounds and more.
If Jesus had chosen to split hairs about heavenly hosts or the Last Judgment, a scholar could be forgiven his tenacity in pursuing the details.
I like to split hairs. And I quibble with people who say, "Well, you're cynical." And I know there's a second and third definition of cynical where my stuff fits.
Everything That is Being is Always Repeating, 1999, is arguably the most charged of the group (though to claim that any of Ott's paintings is more charged than another is to split hairs).
Tessa Jowell felt obliged to split hairs. Putting teenage mums in hostels will not be "a punishment", she announced.
I was under strict instructions from dad to come home with a pair of new words in my back pocket: Star Wars and lightsaber (I know it's three words, but who wants to split hairs?) So, although it's against my instinct to shine a light on myself, I made the effort and asked her.
Or German, if you wish to split hairs. Though she claims to be Wales' sovereign too, Queen Elizabeth has done nothing to earn the allegiance of the Welsh.