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.”
THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?
Words nearby split hairs
Example sentences from the Web for split hairs
Again, the difference can seem subtle and sound more like splitting hairs, but the difference is important.How Skinny Is Too Skinny? Israel Bans ‘Underweight’ Models|Carrie Arnold|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
She narrowed her eyes, bit her lip as if to chew over the question, and whisked some stray blond hairs away from her face.Powerful Congressman Writes About ‘Fleshy Breasts’|Asawin Suebsaeng|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The conspirators were split into two teams, “Alpha” and “Bravo.”The Shadowy U.S. Veteran Who Tried to Overthrow a Country|Jacob Siegel|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST
If you look at the history, you can really understand why the parties are so divided and why the public is so split.
Scrolling through this hate-filled manifesto for the first time made the hairs on my arm tingle with discomfort.
Under the one-sixth they appear as slender, highly refractive fibers with double contour and, often, curled or split ends.A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis|James Campbell Todd
The cantonment was split into two sections by an irregular ravine, or nullah, running east and west.The Red Year|Louis Tracy
The atmosphere seemed drawn taut before him as though it must any instant split open upon a sound of crying.The Wave|Algernon Blackwood
The Griffin carried off one sheep a day from a German village, till a man came with a "falchion" and split the Griffin open.Kipling Stories and Poems Every Child Should Know, Book II|Rudyard Kipling
The rein was fastened to a piece of split rattan drawn through the animal's nose.Alila, Our Little Philippine Cousin|Mary Hazelton Wade
Idioms and Phrases with 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]