- the making of unnecessarily fine distinctions.
- characterized by such distinctions: the hairsplitting arguments of a political debate.
Origin of hairsplitting
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
2. quibbling, niggling, nitpicking, captious.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for hairsplitting
Of what practical use then, it may be asked, is all this hairsplitting?Some Principles of Maritime Strategy
Julian Stafford Corbett
Hairsplitting terms like this I do not often employ, but, blessings on the head of Cadmus!Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium
Jessie H. Bancroft
The mass of the party, he said, did not trouble their heads about theories, but plodded along unmindful of hairsplitting.Socialism and Democracy in Europe
Samuel P. Orth
It was fine legal reasoning, not without some of that hairsplitting for which Jefferson reproached Randolph.Thomas Jefferson
- the making of petty distinctions
- occupied with or based on petty distinctions