hairbreadth

[ hair-bredth, -bretth ]
/ ˈhɛərˌbrɛdθ, -ˌbrɛtθ /

noun, adjective


RELATED WORDS


Nearby words

  1. hair-shirt,
  2. hair-splitting,
  3. hair-trigger,
  4. hairball,
  5. hairbrained,
  6. hairbrush,
  7. hairbrush cactus,
  8. haircloth,
  9. haircoloring,
  10. haircut

Origin of hairbreadth

1400–50; late Middle English heere brede; see hair, breadth

hairsbreadth

[ hairz-bredth, -bretth, -breth ]
/ ˈhɛərzˌbrɛdθ, -ˌbrɛtθ, -ˌbrɛθ /

noun

a very small space or distance: We escaped an accident by a hairsbreadth.

adjective

extremely narrow or close.
Also hair's-breadth, hairbreadth.

Origin of hairsbreadth

First recorded in 1575–85

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hairbreadth


Word Origin and History for hairbreadth

hairbreadth

n.

also hairsbreadth, hairs-breadth, hair's breadth, mid-15c., said to have been formerly a formal unit of measure equal to one-forty-eighth of an inch. From hair + breadth.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper