hairsplitting

[ hair-split-ing ]
/ ˈhɛərˌsplɪt ɪŋ /

noun

the making of unnecessarily fine distinctions.

adjective

characterized by such distinctions: the hairsplitting arguments of a political debate.

Origin of hairsplitting

First recorded in 1820–30; hair + splitting

Related forms

hair·split·ter, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hair-splitting

British Dictionary definitions for hair-splitting

hairsplitting

/ (ˈhɛəˌsplɪtɪŋ) /

noun

the making of petty distinctions

adjective

occupied with or based on petty distinctions

Derived Forms

hairsplitter, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012