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1. modifier Of or characterized by minute and irrelevant differences or details in an argument. There have been some hair-splitting changes to the script, but other than that, it's the same as it ever was.
2. noun The act of scrutinizing minute, irrelevant, or imperceptible differences or details. We would get a lot more done in these meetings if everyone did less hair-splitting.
make like a banana and split
humorous slang To depart or leave, especially at once or in a hurry. (A pun on "to split," a slang term meaning to leave or depart, and a "banana split," an ice-cream-based dessert featuring a banana halved lengthwise.) This carnival turned out to be really boring. Come on, let's make like a banana and split! A: "Where are Jeff and Sally?" B: "They needed to get home to feed the baby, so they made like a banana and split."
split (one's) sides
To laugh uproariously or hysterically. Your jokes are perfect for your speech tonight. You'll have them splitting their sides!
To make or focus on trivial or petty details, differences, or distinctions. I'm sorry to split hairs, but your portion of the bill is $25.97, not $25.79. I actually think it was your responsibility, not Dave's, but let's not split hairs about it.
split the difference
To find and agree upon the point halfway or nearly halfway between two amounts of something, especially money. A: "I'll give you $100 for the computer." B: "I'm sorry, but I can't take lower than $150." A: "Why don't we split the difference and call it $125?"
split (something) down the middle
To divide or share the cost of something exactly equally. While I appreciate the offer and the sentiment, I insist that we split the bill down the middle—I don't like someone paying for me on a first date.
split the ticket
To vote for candidates from more than one political party for different roles in public office. It has become increasingly uncommon for voters to split the ticket by voting for candidates from both parties.
1. To detach, separate, or sever from some larger thing or piece. Groups of students split off to work on the project. A large chunk of rock split off from the side of the mountain and rolled down into the ravine.
2. To detach, separate, or sever something (from some larger thing or piece). A noun or pronoun can be used between "split" and "off." Split the tough, fibrous ends off of the asparagus stalks before you pop them in the oven. She split off a piece of chocolate for me.
1. To separate or divide into two or more pieces, groups, sets, etc. We'll find them faster if we all split up. The polar ice caps are going to start splitting up if global temperatures continue to rise.
2. To cause something or a group to separate or divide into two or more smaller pieces, groups, sets, etc. A noun or pronoun can be used between "split" and "up." Take this axe and go split those logs up into firewood. The teacher split up the class to work on the project in groups.
3. To end a romantic relationship with someone else. My parents split up when I was only five years old. Mary says that she split up with Sarah, but they've had such an off-again-on-again relationship that none of us is surprised anymore.
4. To cause a romantic couple to end their relationship. A noun or pronoun can be used between "split" and "up." My mom's gambling issues very nearly split up her marriage, but she got counseling and they're still together to this day. Tommy's been conniving to split Jenny and Phil up because he's still madly in love with her.
split a/(one's) gut
To laugh uproariously or hysterically; to laugh so hard that it causes one's sides to hurt. Your jokes are perfect for your speech tonight. You'll have them splitting their guts! I was splitting a gut listening to your uncle's hilarious stories.
split between (two or more people or things)
1. To be undecided or uncommitted between two or more options or possibilities. I know Kevin is split between becoming a doctor or pursuing a career in art. I'm really split between these two styles for the wallpaper in the living room.
2. To share or divvy up something between two or more people or things. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "split" and "between." The portions are really huge here, so Mary and I are just going to split a single entrée between us. We're already splitting a very thin budget between five different departments, so I don't see how the company will afford a sixth.
split in (number or fraction)
1. To divide cleanly or evenly into some number or fraction of a whole. The mirror toppled over and split in three. OK, I want the class to split in eighths and come up with five different ways that energy is produced.
2. To divide someone or something cleanly into some number or fraction of a whole. With one mighty swing of his magical axe, the mighty Titan split the entire mountain in two. He split the pizza in six so everyone could have a slice.
split into (number or fraction)
1. To divide cleanly or evenly into some smaller number of things. The mirror toppled over and split into three nearly identical shards. OK, I want the class to split into groups of eight and come up with five different ways that energy is produced.
2. To divide someone or something cleanly into some number or fraction of a whole. With one mighty swing of his magical axe, the Titan split the entire mountain into two. He split the pizza into six pieces so everyone could have a slice.
split with (one)
1. To share or divvy up something with one. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "split" and "with." The portions are really huge here, so I'm just going to split an entrée with Mary. He agreed to split the earnings evenly with his partner.
2. To end a romantic relationship with one. I heard you split with your boyfriend—I'm so sorry to hear that! Martin says that he split with Sarah, but they've had such an on-again-off-again relationship that none of us is surprised anymore.
A very intense, painful headache, i.e., one that makes one's head feel as though it is splitting apart. We were up all night drinking cheap wine, and I woke up the next morning with a splitting headache. I've had this splitting headache for nearly four hours, and nothing I do seems to help.
Fig. to quibble; to try to make petty distinctions. They don't have any serious differences. They are just splitting hairs. Don't waste time splitting hairs. Accept it the way it is.
split off (from something)
to separate away from something; to sever connection with and separate from something. A large iceberg split off from the glacier and made an enormous splash. A giant chunk of ice split off and floated away.
split someone or something up (into something)
to divide people or things up into something, such as groups. I had to split the group up into two sections—there were so many who showed up. I split up the class into two discussion sections.
split something off (of) somethingand split something off
to sever connection with something; to separate from something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) Dave split a piece of wood off the log to use for kindling. He split off a stick of wood.
split the difference
to divide the difference evenly (with someone else). You want to sell for $120, and I want to buy for $100. Let's split the difference and close the deal at $110. I don't want to split the difference. I want $120.
split up (with someone)
[for someone] to separate from someone; to break up a marriage or love affair. Jeff split up with Judy. I had heard that they had split up with each other.
Fig. a severe headache, as if one's head were splitting open. I'm sorry, I can't. I have a splitting headache. Maybe Fred will play bridge with you. This splitting headache has been going on for hours.
Make trivial distinctions, quibble, as in Let's not split hairs about whose turn it is; I'll close up today and you do it tomorrow. This metaphoric idiom transfers dividing so fine an object as a single hair to other petty divisions. [Second half of 1600s]
split the difference
Compromise between two close figures, divide the remainder equally. For example, You're asking $5,000 for the car and I'm offering $4,000; let's split the difference and make it $4,500 . [c. 1700]
If someone splits hairs, they argue about very small details or find very small differences between things which are really very similar. More than half the cases they complained about were not, in fact, on Garzon's list, but let's not split hairs. Don't split hairs. You know what I'm getting at. Note: You can also accuse someone of hair-splitting. We were becoming impatient with hair-splitting over legal technicalities.
split hairsmake small and overfine distinctions.
This expression was first recorded in the late 17th century. Split straws, dating from the 19th century, is a less common version.
split the differencetake the average of two proposed amounts.
split the ticket (or your vote)vote for candidates of more than one party. US
split the ˈdifferenceagree on an amount of something, such as money, which is halfway between two others: John offered €60, but Peter wanted €100. Finally they split the difference and agreed on €80.
split ˈhairs(disapproving) pay too much attention in an argument to differences that are very small and not important: You might think I’m just splitting hairs, but what exactly do you mean by ‘a significant improvement’? ▶ ˈhair-splitting noun
split the ˈticket(American English, politics) vote for candidates from more than one party: Election officials are reminding voters that they may ‘split their ticket’ in the November election, unlike a state primary election.
1. To separate something; detach something: The babysitter split off a piece of fruit and shared it with the child. Before putting the flowers in water, I split the stem ends off.
2. To become separated from something: The political party split off from a broader coalition. As the temperature rose, a large section of the iceberg split off.
1. To separate someone or something, such as people or groups; disunite someone or something: Artistic differences split up the band. They've been together too long to let a little argument split them up.
2. To become divided or part company as a result of discord or disagreement: My parents split up after 20 years of marriage.
3. To divide something, as for convenience or proper ordering: They split up the remainder of the money among themselves and parted ways. We split the project up into stages.
4. To become divided or be divisible: Let's split up into teams. This poem doesn't split up into stanzas very well.
1. in. to separate. The two split up and went their separate ways.
2. n. an act of separating or breaking up. (Usually split-up.) Everyone was mentally prepared for the company’s split-up.
To see or make trivial distinctions; quibble.
split the difference
To take half of a disputed amount as a compromise.