Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
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.
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.
the length and breadth of (something)
The entire space or area of something or some place; everywhere in a place or area. The coach made me run the length and breadth of the field for the rest of practice for cursing at him. We're spending three months traveling the length and breadth of the East Coast this summer. I searched the length and breadth of the house, but I couldn't find my keys anywhere.
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.
the length and breadth of something
COMMON If someone does something or something happens the length and breadth of a place, it is done or happens everywhere in that place. The group built their reputation by playing shows across the length and breadth of North America. She has travelled the length and breadth of Britain.
a hair's breadtha very small amount or margin.
the length and breadth ofthroughout the whole of (a place).
a ˈhair’s breadtha 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.