a fine-tooth comb


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a fine-tooth comb

A phrase used to describe a way of doing something that is very careful and thorough. We need to go through these files with a fine-tooth comb to find that missing paperwork. Make sure to go through your thesis with a fine-tooth comb before you hand it in—you don't want your advisors wading through proofreading errors, do you?
See also: comb

fine-tooth comb

A method of searching or investigating in minute detail, as in He examined the figures with a fine-tooth comb but found no errors. The practice of using a comb with close-set teeth to comb out head lice was transferred to various kinds of investigation in the late 1800s.
See also: comb
References in periodicals archive ?
The Bug Buster kit, developed by the United Kingdom charity organization Community Hygiene Concern, includes a fine-tooth comb and hair conditioner.
"Federal officials and state legislators may be running the computerized equivalent of a fine-tooth comb through all sexually explicit material in cyberspace," Morales wrote.
"But to make absolutely sure he'll go to the vet in the morning and my man will go over him with a fine-tooth comb."
Sources close to the talks say the Government has gone through the deal with a fine-tooth comb.
Given the task of examining customer operations with a fine-tooth comb, they "created a marriage of two different cultures," explains Jackson, which wasn't easy.
The surveyor was with us for three days and covered every single policy and procedure with a fine-tooth comb. This proved to be consistently educational - particularly since we were in a conference room for eight hours a day all huddled around our manuals.