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Related to forests: Tropical forests

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


not see the forest for the trees

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 ?
There is something in a strain of music, whether produced by an instrument or by the human voice--take the sound of a bugle in a summer night, for instance--which by its wildness, to speak without satire, reminds me of the cries emitted by wild beasts in their native forests.
The next few days were spent in getting the elephants together, in walking the newly caught wild elephants up and down between a couple of tame ones to prevent them giving too much trouble on the downward march to the plains, and in taking stock of the blankets and ropes and things that had been worn out or lost in the forest.
In most countries, forests are removed without much difficulty by the aid of fire; but in Chiloe, from the damp nature of the climate, and the sort of trees, it is necessary first to cut them down.
Mechanics and tradesmen who come in person to the forest on no other errand, are sure to attend the wood auction, and even pay a high price for the privilege of gleaning after the woodchopper.
Thus conversing, they entered sufficiently deep into the wood to secure themselves from the observation of any casual passenger along the forest track.
Evil spirits live in that forest, and no man has walked there for many years.
I thought now that my last hour was surely come; but the huge creature, picking me up gently enough, set me upon its back, where I clung more dead than alive, and followed by the whole herd turned and crashed off into the dense forest.
It was now deep dusk in the forest, and deepest in that part of it where these two were journeying.
They were obliged to camp out that night under a large tree in the forest, for there were no houses near.
There was once a forester who went into the forest to hunt, and as he entered it he heard a sound of screaming as if a little child were there.
There was the same instant of unthinkable cold and utter darkness that I had experienced twenty years before, and then I opened my eyes in another world, beneath the burning rays of a hot sun, which beat through a tiny opening in the dome of the mighty forest in which I lay.
Slowly the stricken flier sank to the ground, and when I had freed myself and Woola from the entangling wreckage I found that we were upon the verge of a natural forest--so rare a thing upon the bosom of dying Mars that, outside of the forest in the Valley Dor beside the Lost Sea of Korus, I never before had seen its like upon the planet.
The hunting warriors emerged from the forest, and when all were within the palisade the gates were closed and barred.
Now take ye each four men, all armed in proof," said he, "and get ye gone to the forest, at different points, and lie in wait for this same Robin Hood.
They went through the muddy village, past threshing floors and green fields of winter rye, downhill where snow still lodged near the bridge, uphill where the clay had been liquefied by the rain, past strips of stubble land and bushes touched with green here and there, and into a birch forest growing on both sides of the road.
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