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hairbreadth

[hair-bredth, -bretth] /ˈhɛərˌbrɛdθ, -ˌbrɛtθ/
noun, adjective
Origin of hairbreadth
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English heere brede; see hair, breadth

hairsbreadth

[hairz-bredth, -bretth, -breth] /ˈhɛərzˌbrɛdθ, -ˌbrɛtθ, -ˌbrɛθ/
noun
1.
a very small space or distance:
We escaped an accident by a hairsbreadth.
adjective
2.
extremely narrow or close.
Also, hair's-breadth, hairbreadth.
Origin
1575-85
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Word Origin and History for hairbreadth
n.

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
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20
19
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