forest


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Related to forest: deforestation

can't see the forest for the trees

Cannot see, understand, or focus on a situation in its entirety due to being preoccupied with minor details. The way he's obsessing over one doorknob when we're renovating the entire house makes me think that he can't see the forest for the trees.
See also: forest, see, tree

cannot see the wood for the trees

 and cannot see the forest for the trees
Prov. Cannot perceive the overview or important things because of concentrating too much on details. The information presented in this textbook is so disorganized that I can't see the wood for the trees. The politician's opponents claimed that she couldn't see the forest for the trees, because she spent so much time trying to solve minor problems.
See also: cannot, see, tree, wood

not able to see the forest for the trees

Cliché allowing many details of a situation to obscure the situation as a whole. (Not able to is often expressed as can't.) The solution is obvious. You missed it because you can't see the forest for the trees. She suddenly realized that she hadn't been able to see the forest for the trees.
See also: able, forest, not, see, tree

can't see the forest for the trees

Also, can't see the wood for the trees. Focus only on small details and fail to understand larger plans or principles, as in Alex argues about petty cash and overlooks the budget-he can't see the forest for the trees . This expression was already a proverb in John Heywood's 1546 collection.
See also: forest, see, tree

not see the wood for the trees

BRITISH or

not see the forest for the trees

AMERICAN
If someone can't see the wood for the trees, they are so involved in the details of something that they do not understand or pay attention to the most important parts of it. He often helped those who could not see the wood for the trees reach the correct decision. A picture is emerging of an agency that can't see the forest for the trees.
See also: not, see, tree, wood

cannot see the wood for the trees

fail to grasp the main issue because of over-attention to details.
The North American version of this expression is cannot see the forest for the trees .
See also: cannot, see, tree, wood

not see the ˌwood for the ˈtrees

(British English) (American English not see the ˌforest for the ˈtrees) (informal) not have a clear understanding of a situation because you are only looking at small aspects of it and not considering the situation as a whole: The situation is so complex that many people are unable to see the wood for the trees.
See also: not, see, tree, wood
References in classic literature ?
If it's settled, it's useless haggling; but if it's not," said Levin, "I'll buy the forest.
Here you are, the forest is mine," he said, crossing himself quickly, and holding out his hand.
The Bonanza king of the Black Forest lives to a good old age, blessed with the love of his wife and of his twenty-seven children, and the still sweeter envy of everybody around.
There we found nine or ten Black Forest grandees assembled around a table.
He had not said a word of the forest and I hoped that my companion's reason would hold out some time longer against the torture.
le Vicomte for accepting death, I returned, after giving him a word of encouragement, to my panel, but I had made the mistake of taking a few steps while speaking and, in the tangle of the illusive forest, I was no longer able to find my panel for certain
If the wild beasts in the forest had but devoured us, we should at any rate have died together.
The uniformity of a forest soon becomes very wearisome.
With the coming of night there arose throughout the jungle the cries of the great cats, the voice of Numa blended with that of Sheeta, and the thunderous roars of the great males reverberated through the forest until the earth trembled, and from within the city came the answering roars of other lions.
His title of Captain of the Kaolian Road explained his timely presence in the heart of the savage forest, for every highway upon Barsoom is patrolled by doughty warriors of the noble class, nor is there any service more honorable than this lonely and dangerous duty in the less frequented sections of the domains of the red men of Barsoom.
They had barely time to hasten away farther into the forest before the first of the raiders had crossed the clearing and entered it in pursuit of them.
The next moment, so indistinct were the sounds, he doubted whether he had heard aught but the murmur of the old forest, whispering without a wind.
But the Lion went away into the forest and found his own supper, and no one ever knew what it was, for he didn't mention it.
So the animal pranced into the forest and soon came trotting back to them.
But in the meantime Robin Hood and his band lived quietly in Sherwood Forest, without showing their faces abroad, for Robin knew that it would not be wise for him to be seen in the neighborhood of Nottingham, those in authority being very wroth with him.