split hairs

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split hairs

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.
See also: hair, split

split hairs

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.
See also: hair, split

split hairs

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]
See also: hair, split

split hairs

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.
See also: hair, split

split hairs

make 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.
See also: hair, split

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
See also: hair, split

split hairs

To see or make trivial distinctions; quibble.
See also: hair, split

split hairs, to

To make petty, unnecessarily fine distinctions. The analogy between splitting so fine a material as a hair and making fine distinctions was drawn by Shakespeare’s time. “I’ll cavil on the ninth part of a hair,” he wrote (Henry IV, Part 1, 3.1). It was probably already a cliché by the time Douglas Jerrold wrote (The Chronicles of Clovernook, 1846), “His keen logic would split hairs as a bill-hook would split logs.”
See also: split
References in periodicals archive ?
"I just feel that if her main concern is simply that she wasn't engaged soon enough, I would suggest that's just splitting hairs," Reiter told reporters after question period on March 23.
(Before readers email the editor, it may be splitting hairs but the Virgin Atlantic airborne bar is a bar, and Upper Class is J class rather than F).
Flood, a spokesman for K12, defended government funding of the program, calling critics' objections "splitting hairs" and insisting that subsidizing home schoolers benefits the public.
But is her lukewarm opinion of your new 'do worth splitting hairs over?
"Most building officials have recognized it as an improved glitch fix--an improvement--and they're not splitting hairs on it," he said.
Horrible as that incident was, however, it is not splitting hairs to point out that the gunship's crew, who mistook celebratory gunshots for anti-aircraft fire, thoug ht they were attacking an armed enemy.
I hope I'm not splitting hairs here (and every critic has a hairsplitter on his back like a monkey), but looking at France Moves, I could not but note that it was called France Moves rather than France Dances.
Not just splitting hairs, Carp reminds readers that confidentiality protects the privacy of individuals, whereas "secrecy" deprives a person of (presumably) valuable information about her or himself.
Far from splitting hairs about a 10- or 12-minute sermon, parishioners there spend more than three hours every Sunday in an all-involving liturgy.
Talk about splitting hairs. Maybe the Administration's new motto should be, "Do as I say, not as I do.
It is often asked if one isn't splitting hairs to designate some methods "natural" and some "artificial." To state that birth control is wrong because it is "artificial" is rightly to be called simplistic and perhaps anti-modern or even anti-human.
The company works with the troops and the troops work with the mine, and their interests are aligned, so unless you're really splitting hairs, there's no effective difference."
It sounds subtle--the change from teacher evaluation to teacher assessment--but for teachers in Osceola County, Florida, insisting on the switch was more than just splitting hairs over contract language.
This is illustrated in the first couple of paragraphs in his article "Splitting Hairs" in the January/February issue.
I'm a bit older than Seb and saw Alberto Juantorena do the same thing in Montreal in 1976, so I'll put it in the top-10, but we're splitting hairs here.