with a fine-tooth comb

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with a fine-tooth comb

Very carefully and thoroughly. We need to go through these files with a fine-tooth comb to find that missing paperwork. Make sure to go through your thesis with a fine-tooth comb before you hand it in—you don't want your advisors wading through proofreading errors, do you?
See also: comb

with a fine-tooth comb

or

with a fine-toothed comb

If you examine something with a fine-tooth comb or with a fine-toothed comb, you examine each small part of it very carefully. I have been through Ed's personal papers and letters with a fine-tooth comb. We will scrutinise our mistakes with a fine-toothed comb. Note: A fine-tooth comb is a comb with very thin teeth set very close together. It is used to remove lice and nits (= small insects and their eggs) from people's hair.
See also: comb

with a fine-tooth comb

(of examination or analysis) extremely thorough and detailed.
A literal fine-tooth comb is one with narrow teeth that are close together.
2003 CNN This budget has been gone over with a fine-tooth comb, and they don't see where another $3 billion or $4 billion in saving is going to come from.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Armed with a fine tooth comb and its commendable intentions, the world's largest democracy must put its experience of national elections to good use and ensure the Indian diaspora enjoys a smooth e-voting experience in the future.
Experts are warning people that they may want to consider reining back on their spending several months before applying for a mortgage, as providers will want to sift through around three months of bank statements "with a fine tooth comb".
The young people went through the strategy with a fine tooth comb and made a number of suggestions to the NHS on how to improve things.
He added: "We will look through those regulations very carefully, trawl through them with a fine tooth comb and see if there are ways of, what shall I say, interpreting them in a way that will be of greater benefit to our residents."
Her barrister, Alex Greenwood, told the court Mr Way had since been through the family bank accounts with a fine tooth comb and was adamant his wife had not received all the thousands of pounds she was being accused of taking from the Department and Pensions.
In each case we were able to immediately secure the key data and work through it with a fine tooth comb. We aim to secure company data from a site within 48 hours; copying entire computer systems, back-ups and email archives, recreating servers and so on.
Despite having a mouth-watering salary and inflation-proof pension that the real hardworking men and women of this country can only dream of attaining, they go through their contract with a fine tooth comb, searching for ways to make hay while the sun shines.
The police should be getting their finger out and going through all the tapes with a fine tooth comb and identifying all the troublemakers and arresting them.
She's still angry that the couple are getting married and takes her revenge by going through Fred's books with a fine tooth comb.
Hawaii Business goes over the final layout with a fine tooth comb until this issue goes to the printer in early July.
But we went through them with a fine tooth comb and in some cases requested almost the entire board to be redone because it didn't have the feel we were visualizing in the script."