[hair-bredth, -bretth]

noun, adjective

Origin of hairbreadth

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


[hairz-bredth, -bretth, -breth]


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


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

Origin of hairsbreadth

First recorded in 1575–85 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for hairbreadth

bit, fraction, hair, jot, hairsbreadth

Examples from the Web for hairbreadth

Historical Examples of hairbreadth

Word Origin and History for hairbreadth

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