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Splitting Hairs

Posted by ESC on November 07, 2002

In Reply to: Splitting Hairs posted by Stitch Jones on November 06, 2002

: The origin of splitting hairs please? Thank you.

SPLIT HAIRS - "Argue extensively over trifles or fine distinctions; quibble. A hair can be split today without much trouble, but once it was thought to be so fine that an effort to split it would be a waste of time. The same was true of trifling points, and the analogy between the one and the other was made long ago. A translation in 1691 of Gabriel D'Emillianne's 'Observations on a Journey to Naples' offered: 'Shewing himself very inventive and dexterous at splitting a Hair in his way of handling Scholastick matter.' Gabriel D'Emillianne was the pseudonym of Antonio Gauin." From "Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985).