Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR HAIR-SPLITTING

There is my defence on Terminus, or better say on hair-splitting.

It is a danger to which ingenious and hair-splitting writers are liable.

This is not hair-splitting in the opprobrious sense of that term.

I know your hair-splitting habit; I at once anticipate your reply.

But he disliked the corrupt method of his countrymen, who indulged in hair-splitting, casuistry, and subtleties.

Moreover, this hair-splitting was considered sublimest piety, and superseded everything else.

Plain and safe men never disparaged his arguments by calling them hair-splitting or metaphysical.

The man who goes to law surrenders his liberty of action and becomes the sport of chicaning lawyers and hair-splitting judges.

It will not be worth our while to wade through all the technical and hair-splitting discussions of these points.

It is better, however, not to raise the question with beginners, since it seems to them like hair-splitting to no purpose.

WORD ORIGIN

"making over-nice distinctions," by 1739, from hair + verbal noun from split (v.). To split hairs "make over-fine distinctions" is first recorded 1650s, as to cut the hair. Hair also being 18c. slang for "female pudendum," hair-splitter was noted in 1811 as slang for "penis."

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR HAIR-SPLITTING

hypercritical

adjectivecaptious
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.