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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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Examples from the web for hairsplitting
  • Hypercorrectness is another word for it, as is hairsplitting and nitpicking.
  • But the arid legal hairsplitting that dominates that chamber poses fewer policy problems than the messier lower courts do.
  • Unfortunately, the book is more hairsplitting than revisionist.
  • Remember that even hairsplitting is not so bad if what is inside the hair turns out to be important.
British Dictionary definitions for hairsplitting

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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19
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