a hair's breadth

hair's breadth

A very small amount or short length. After wandering around the forest for an hour thinking we were lost, it turned out that we were only a hair's breadth away from our campsite. The seal is air-tight—there's not a hair's breadth between the door and the frame.
See also: breadth

a hair's breadth

1. You use a hair's breadth to talk about the smallest possible amount or degree of something. The town suffered heavy bombing, coming within a hair's breadth of being destroyed altogether. He missed the two-minute barrier by a hair's breadth, finishing in 2.00.04 and setting a new British record. The situation was a hair's breadth away from being comical.
2. You use a hair's breadth to talk about the smallest possible distance. A stone flew past him, missing him by a hair's breadth. His head was a hair's breadth away from the car roof.
See also: breadth

a hair's breadth

a very small amount or margin.
See also: breadth

a ˈhair’s breadth

a very small distance or amount: He escaped death by a hair’s breadth. If the other car had been going any faster, he would certainly have been killed.She was within a hair’s breadth of winning.
Breadth means width.
See also: breadth
References in classic literature ?
This, however, is of but little importance to our tale; it will be enough not to stray a hair's breadth from the truth in the telling of it.
Well was it for Robin that he was quick and nimble of foot; for the blow that grazed a hair's breadth from his shoulder would have felled an ox.
He ought not to let the incident divert him a hair's breadth from his path.
Now came the Scarecrow on the Sawhorse, and while they made the dash in safety they were within a hair's breadth of being caught by the descending hammer.
The sickly gas-jet still struggled bravely with adversity at the end of the raised silver arm of the statuette which had kept to a hair's breadth its graceful pose on the toes of its left foot; and the staircase lost itself in the shadows above.
I told you to take that loping miscreant under the line of white point; now, if your bullet went a hair's breadth it went two inches above it.
Tulkinghorn's thoughts take such form as he looks at her, with his ragged grey eyebrows a hair's breadth more contracted than usual under her gaze.
At that moment he was within a hair's breadth of making a clean breast of it all to his wife.
Had it rung too flat, or had it felt a hair's breadth too light, generosity had carried the day; but, unhappily for Gurth, the chime was full and true, the zecchin plump, newly coined, and a grain above weight.
The cat halted in mid air, missed the ape by but a hair's breadth, and with horrid snarlings rolled over upon its back, clutching and clawing in an effort to reach and dislodge the antagonist biting at its neck and knifing it in the side.
And if there is I'll never trouble you a hair's breadth again, but will be, if you will let me, a very faithful friend.
He tried to get away from them, but they would not for an instant let his shoulder move a hair's breadth.
The sun marked midday when we closed our eyes; it was still in the same position when we opened them; nor had it varied a hair's breadth in the interim.
A hoof missed my brother's foot by a hair's breadth.
The figure, without blenching a hair's breadth from the sword which was pointed at his breast, made a solemn pause and lowered the cape of the cloak from about his face, yet not sufficiently for the spectators to catch a glimpse of it.