Definition of hairsplitting in English:

hairsplitting

Syllabification: hair·split·ting
Pronunciation: /ˈhe(ə)rˌsplitiNG
 
/

adjective

  • Characterized by or fond of small and overfine distinctions: legal experts have a particularly hairsplitting mentality
    More example sentences
    • How can the Supreme Court possibly know what the most divisive policy is with respect to these hair-splitting distinctions.
    • A good example of this is the often hair-splitting legal distinctions between valid and invalid transfers.
    • Then they became immersed in hair-splitting debates about difficult ‘moral’ decisions but within a context where everything was justified if politically useful.
    Synonyms
    pedantic, pettifogging; quibbling, niggling, caviling, carping, critical, overcritical, hypercritical
    informal nitpicking, persnickety, picky

noun

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  • The action of making small and overfine distinctions; quibbling.
    More example sentences
    • The aim of these fine distinctions, not to say hair-splitting, is to deny the Marxist thesis that the driving forces of the war were rooted in economic and geopolitical conflicts of the major capitalist powers.
    • Avoid complicated issues of public policy; the people need to have their hearts lifted by statements of steely resolve, and there's little time for wonky hair-splitting.
    • Even the most intelligent and well-intentioned judge can create a mess by indulging in hair-splitting that, at least on its own narrow terms, may seem reasonable.

Derivatives

hairsplitter

Pronunciation: /-ˌsplitər/
noun
More example sentences
  • Human consciousness is too important to be left to the hair-splitters.
  • They are the most preposterous and unjustified of all the guesses which can be made about the universe, and I am not enough of a hair-splitter to pretend that I don't regard them as arrant and negligible moonshine.
  • However, don't go endlessly back and forth between suppliers in an attempt to grind out a rock-bottom price, otherwise you'll be marked down as a time waster and a hair-splitter.

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