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View synonyms for hairsplitting

hairsplitting

[ hair-split-ing ]

noun

  1. the making of unnecessarily fine distinctions.


adjective

  1. characterized by such distinctions:

    the hairsplitting arguments of a political debate.

    Synonyms: captious, niggling, quibbling

hairsplitting

/ ˈhɛəˌsplɪtɪŋ /

noun

  1. the making of petty distinctions


adjective

  1. occupied with or based on petty distinctions
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Derived Forms

  • ˈhairˌsplitter, noun
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Other Words From

  • hairsplitter noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of hairsplitting1

First recorded in 1820–30; hair + splitting
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Example Sentences

Secondly, you must not think too little of it, by regarding the matter as mere scholastic word-mongery and useless hairsplitting.

It was fine legal reasoning, not without some of that hairsplitting for which Jefferson reproached Randolph.

But, to avoid hairsplitting, what we call "modern" English literature may be said to date from about 1885.

Hairsplitting terms like this I do not often employ, but, blessings on the head of Cadmus!

The mass of the party, he said, did not trouble their heads about theories, but plodded along unmindful of hairsplitting.

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