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hairsplitting

[hair-split-ing] /ˈhɛərˌsplɪt ɪŋ/
noun
1.
the making of unnecessarily fine distinctions.
adjective
2.
characterized by such distinctions:
the hairsplitting arguments of a political debate.
Origin
1820-1830
1820-30; hair + splitting
Related forms
hairsplitter, noun
Synonyms
2. quibbling, niggling, nitpicking, captious.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for hair-splitting

hairsplitting

/ˈhɛəˌsplɪtɪŋ/
noun
1.
the making of petty distinctions
adjective
2.
occupied with or based on petty distinctions
Derived Forms
hairsplitter, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for hair-splitting
n.

"making over-nice distinctions," by 1739, from hair + verbal noun from split (v.). To split hairs "make over-fine distinctions" is first recorded 1650s, as to cut the hair. Hair also being 18c. slang for "female pudendum," hair-splitter was noted in 1811 as slang for "penis."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Difficulty index for hairsplitting

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Word Value for hair

7
6
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