from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The making of unreasonably fine distinctions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of considering or arguing about fine details, or worrying about minutiae.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Making excessively fine or trivial distinctions in reasoning; overly subtle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act or practice of making sophistical or over-nice distinctions in reasoning.
  • Making sophistical or over-nice distinctions in reasoning; also, made by such reasoning.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. making too fine distinctions of little importance
  • adj. developed in excessively fine detail


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • This distinction, which might seem at first glance to be religious hairsplitting, is fundamental around the Vatican.

    The Year of two Popes

  • They, who were so clever in hairsplitting argument, seemed incapable of grasping the Roman idea of the State.

    Chapter 17

  • She recalled the hairsplitting legalisms of the Icelandic sagas.

    Operation Luna

  • That kind of hairsplitting scarcely becomes a superpower-slash-world leader in disarmament.

    Russ Wellen: Are Nonproliferation and Disarmament, Once Joined at the Hip, Headed for Divorce?

  • That kind of hairsplitting just proves that the country is already in the toilet.

    America On The Couch

  • Which seems to capture the situation: If in fact Rove and Libby are indicted, it could turn out to be because the kind of hairsplitting, enigmatic answers that have worked so well as staving off the White House press corps over the years served them very poorly once a resolute federal prosecutor entered the picture.


  • The bill is another example of Bush's lawyerly "hairsplitting" which is aimed at gutting the clearly articulated provisions of the Geneva Conventions so that he can carry out his torture-regime with impunity.

    How did we sink so low in just 6 years?

  • This kind of hairsplitting irks Thomas Lawler, an independent housing economist. Home RSS feed

  • I will concede that the same kind of hairsplitting logic could also be applied to the motion - we have to assume the scale didn't grow or move, etc.

    iMechanica - Comments

  • As for the rest if you, I hope Johanna is as thrilled with your idiotic callousness and hairsplitting as I am.

    Lea Hernandez Makes Comic About Slur » Comics Worth Reading


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