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The making of unreasonably fine distinctions.

hair′split′ter n.
hair′split′ting adj.


the making of petty distinctions
occupied with or based on petty distinctions
ˈhairˌsplitter n


(ˈhɛərˌsplɪt ɪŋ)

1. the making of unnecessarily fine distinctions.
2. characterized by such distinctions; quibbling: hairsplitting arguments.
hair′split`ter, n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.hairsplitting - making too fine distinctions of little importance; "they didn't take his hairsplitting seriously"
differentiation, distinction - a discrimination between things as different and distinct; "it is necessary to make a distinction between love and infatuation"
Adj.1.hairsplitting - developed in excessively fine detail; "finespun distinctions"
precise - sharply exact or accurate or delimited; "a precise mind"; "specified a precise amount"; "arrived at the precise moment"


1. adjpedante, cavilloso/a
2. npedanteria
References in periodicals archive ?
First, any attempt to discuss a simple legal idea will always descend to pointless, misinformed hairsplitting.
The difference is about 100 to 150 fps, so it is not a hairsplitting exercise.
At least three major events of past few days can be cited: Finally the coming together of the BJP and Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party (PDP) to form a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir; the controversy over the Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) getting access to the terror-hit Pathankot airbase and the hairsplitting over whether the Pakistani team is being given access to the frontline military base per se or whether it is being allowed access only to the crime scenes on the periphery of the base; and the imposition of president's rule in the small northern state of Uttarakhand.
When they knew that the incumbent president was firm and steadfast on this venture, they started another campaign, trying to find flaws and gaps in the to-be amendment and were very vociferous in their hairsplitting and presenting their objections and dissent, which were of insignificant importance.
That book is a hairsplitting study of the (im)possibility of the virtuous gift as distinct from the base quidpro-quo deal; Locher nimbly annotates the text with red squiggles and question marks and combines it with a visual counterpart: politically charged imagery from media archives that shows hands performing a variety of gestures.
USAIN BOLT was last night labelled an "active performance legend" by hairsplitting Olympics boss Jacques Rogge.
In all this legalistic hairsplitting, one thing was overlooked: the life of a mother.
This is not a semantic hairsplitting but part of the reaffirmation of the Constitutional principle of civilian control of the armed forces.
But even if you leave genus and species hairsplitting to the scientists, there is still plenty of fodder for confusion in everyday nature terminology.
People are so ashamed and fed up with President Bush's perverse defense of abominable interrogation practices that they saw Mukasey's linguistic hairsplitting over waterboarding as a deal-killer for his nomination.
The House That George Built, as the author himself points out straightaway, isn't a book for hairsplitting academics, though only the most dunderheaded PhDs would question Sheed's breadth of knowledge.
Godly Letters is a deeply informed resource for anyone with a keen interest in the theological hairsplitting, the twists and turns of early colonial Calvinist arguments.