To split hairs
Split Split (spl[i^]t), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Split} ({Splitted}, R.); p. pr. & vb. n. {Splitting}.] [Probably of Scand. or Low German origin; cf. Dan. splitte, LG. splitten, OD. splitten, spletten, D. splijten, G. spleissen, MHG. spl[=i]zen. Cf. {Splice}, {Splint}, {Splinter}.] 1. To divide lengthwise; to separate from end to end, esp. by force; to divide in the direction of the grain or layers; to rive; to cleave; as, to split a piece of timber or a board; to split a gem; to split a sheepskin. [1913 Webster]

Cold winter split the rocks in twain. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

2. To burst; to rupture; to rend; to tear asunder. [1913 Webster]

A huge vessel of exceeding hard marble split asunder by congealed water. --Boyle. [1913 Webster]

3. To divide or break up into parts or divisions, as by discord; to separate into parts or parties, as a political party; to disunite. [Colloq.] --South. [1913 Webster]

4. (Chem.) To divide or separate into components; -- often used with up; as, to split up sugar into alcohol and carbonic acid. [1913 Webster]

{To split hairs}, to make distinctions of useless nicety. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • To split hairs — Hair Hair (h[^a]r), n. [OE. her, heer, h[ae]r, AS. h[=ae]r; akin to OFries. h[=e]r, D. & G. haar, OHG. & Icel. h[=a]r, Dan. haar, Sw. h[*a]r; cf. Lith. kasa.] 1. The collection or mass of filaments growing from the skin of an animal, and forming… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • split hairs — be very fussy, notice small differences    Clyde likes to work on research that requires him to split hairs …   English idioms

  • split hairs — make unnecessary distinctions He makes a lot of good points but he also has a tendency to split hairs and waste a lot of our time …   Idioms and examples

  • split hairs — If people split hairs, they concentrate on tiny and unimportant details to find fault with something …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • split hairs — QUIBBLE, cavil, carp, niggle, chop logic; informal nit pick; archaic pettifog. → hair   QUIBBLE, cavil, carp, niggle, chop logic; informal nit pick; archaic pettifog. → …   Useful english dictionary

  • split hairs —    If people split hairs, they concentrate on tiny and unimportant details to find fault with something.   (Dorking School Dictionary)    ***    If you split hairs, you pay too much attention to differences that are very small or unimportant.     …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • split hairs — 1. noun Tedious details; minutiae. The Microsoft trial had been in danger of slipping out of the public eye. Its endless procession of less than riveting economics professors and forgetful executives, mixed with scads of legal and technical split …   Wiktionary

  • split\ hairs — v. phr. To find and argue about small and unimportant differences as if the differences are important. John is always splitting hairs; he often starts an argument about something small and unimportant. Don t split hairs about whose turn it is to… …   Словарь американских идиом

  • split hairs — {v. phr.} To find and argue about small and unimportant differences as if the differences are important. * /John is always splitting hairs; he often starts an argument about something small and unimportant./ * /Don t split hairs about whose turn… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • split hairs — {v. phr.} To find and argue about small and unimportant differences as if the differences are important. * /John is always splitting hairs; he often starts an argument about something small and unimportant./ * /Don t split hairs about whose turn… …   Dictionary of American idioms

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