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down to a gnat's eyebrow
In consideration of the most minute detail. I have planned this itinerary down to a gnat's eyebrow, so we are not deviating from it, even for a minute!
have the attention span of a gnat
To be easily distracted. My son has the attention span of a gnat, I swear. If I tell him to do something, he forgets about it almost instantly! We all have the attention span of gnats after so many years of multitasking.
strain at a gnat
To exaggerate or put too much focus on a minor issue and make it seem like a major one. You got one B and you're acting like you're failing the class. You're straining at a gnat, if you ask me. This is just a minor setback, so let's not strain at a gnat.
strain at a gnat and swallow a camel
To resist, criticize, or bemoan something minor or inconsequential while ignoring or overlooking something much more serious or important. The expression originated in the Bible, in Matthew 23:24. The government is letting the housing crisis spiral out of control while they spend millions trying to catch people who sublet their apartments without paying taxes. Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel!
strain at gnats and swallow camels
To resist, criticize, or bemoan something minor or inconsequential while ignoring or overlooking something much more serious or important. The expression originated in the Bible, in Matthew 23:24. The government is letting the housing crisis spiral out of control while they spend millions trying to catch people who sublet their apartments without paying taxes. Talk about straining at gnats and swallowing camels!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
down to a gnat 's eyebrow
Fig. down to the smallest detail. He described what the thief was wearing down to a gnat's eyebrow. No use trying to sneak anything out of the refrigerator. Mom knows what's in there, down to a gnat's eyebrow.
strain at gnats and swallow camels
Prov. to criticize other people for minor offenses while ignoring major offenses. (Biblical.) Jill: Look at that. Edward is combing his hair at his desk. How unprofessional. Jane: Don't strain at gnats and swallow camels. There are worse problems than that around here.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
strain at a gnatLITERARY
If someone strains at a gnat, they concern themselves with something small and unimportant, sometimes failing to deal with something much more important. People worry over tiny differences in the fat content of food while eating huge quantities of sugar. It's a classic case of straining at a gnat. Note: You can also say that someone strains at a gnat and swallows a camel, with the same meaning. One must be wary of straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. Note: This expression comes from the Bible. Jesus used it when criticizing the scribes and the Pharisees for being too concerned with unimportant areas of the Jewish law. (Matthew 23:24)
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
strain at a gnatmake a difficulty about accepting something trivial. literary
The phrase derives from Matthew 23:24, ‘Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel’. The word strain here appears to mean ‘make a violent effort’, but it may in fact refer to the straining of a liquid to remove unwanted particles: the image is of a person quietly accepting a difficulty or problem of significant proportions while baulking at something comparatively trivial.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017