To split hairs


Also found in: Idioms.
to make distinctions of useless nicety.
to make distinctions of useless nicety.

See also: Hair, Split

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
References in classic literature ?
I do not wish to split hairs, to make fine distinctions, or set myself up as better than my neighbors.
In not confirming a run for lieutenant governor, Naughton wrote he is "not trying to split hairs or play with language here," and would notify The Item and his local constituents "if and when" he was prepared to make a formal announcement.
"To split hairs between statutory underpinning and statutory regulation is not an acceptable distinction in a free and democratic country."
In fact, the children of 2012 aren't afraid to split hairs to get their own way.
Anyway, not to split hairs or ears - the important thing is that Mr Llwyd has taken nimbyism to new heights.
If I was to split hairs I would say that despite the 8.6 second dash to 100km/h the lengthy gearing means having to work the gearbox a bit on secondary roads to keep momentum up.
"They may think we're splitting hairs but, believe me, it's okay to split hairs because these are the things that keep you in the Premier League." McLeish said he wanted to forge a 'winning mentality' in a Blues squad that wouldn't allow things just to wash over them.
Mustafa Barghouthi warned against efforts to split hairs on settlement policy.