hair

[ hair ]
/ hɛər /

noun

any of the numerous fine, usually cylindrical, keratinous filaments growing from the skin of humans and animals; a pilus.
an aggregate of such filaments, as that covering the human head or forming the coat of most mammals.
a similar fine, filamentous outgrowth from the body of insects, spiders, etc.
Botany. a filamentous outgrowth of the epidermis.
cloth made of hair from animals, as camel and alpaca.
a very small amount, degree, measure, magnitude, etc.; a fraction, as of time or space: He lost the race by a hair.

Idioms

Origin of hair

before 900; Middle English heer, Old English hǣr (cognate with Dutch, German haar, Old Norse hār), with vowel perhaps from Middle English haire hair shirt < Old French < Old High German hāria (cognate with Middle English here, Old English hǣre, Old Norse hǣra)

Related forms

hair·like, adjectivede·hair, verb (used with object)

Can be confused

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

British Dictionary definitions for split hairs

hair

/ (hɛə) /

noun

Derived Forms

hairlike, adjective

Word Origin for hair

Old English hær; related to Old Norse hār, Old High German hār hair, Norwegian herren stiff, hard, Lettish sari bristles, Latin crescere to grow
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

Medicine definitions for split hairs

hair

[ hâr ]

n.

Any of the cylindrical, keratinized, often pigmented filaments characteristically growing from the epidermis of a mammal.
A growth of such filaments, as that forming the coat of an animal or covering the scalp of a human.
One of the fine hairlike processes of a sensory cell.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for split hairs

hair

[ hâr ]

One of the fine strands that grow from the skin of mammals, usually providing insulation against the cold. Modified hairs sometimes serve as protective defenses, as in the quills of a porcupine or hedgehog, or as tactile organs, as in the whiskers (called vibrissae) of many nocturnal mammals. Hair filaments are a modification of the epidermis of the skin and are composed primarily of keratin. Hair also contains melanin, which determines hair color.
A slender growth resembling a mammalian hair, found on insects and other animals.
A fine, threadlike growth from the epidermis of plants. See more at trichome.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for split hairs

split hairs


To argue about an inconsequential and trivial aspect of an issue: “When you are accused of being forty-five minutes late for an appointment, you are splitting hairs to say that you were really only forty minutes late.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with split hairs (1 of 2)

split hairs


Make trivial distinctions, quibble, as in Let's not split hairs about whose turn it is; I'll close up today and you do it tomorrow. This metaphoric idiom transfers dividing so fine an object as a single hair to other petty divisions. [Second half of 1600s]

Idioms and Phrases with split hairs (2 of 2)

hair


In addition to the idioms beginning with hair

  • hair of the dog that bit you
  • hair shirt

also see:

  • bad hair day
  • by a hair
  • by the short hairs
  • fair-haired boy
  • get gray hair from
  • hang by a thread (hair)
  • hide or hair
  • in someone's hair
  • let one's hair down
  • make one's hair stand on end
  • put lead in one's pencil (hair on one's chest)
  • split hairs
  • tear one's hair
  • turn a hair
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.