Splitting Hair

And I don’t mean the literal splitting of the ends of hair when they get to dry and need a trim.  But while we are on that topic that conditions seems to be called Trichoptilosis.  Greek of course, tricho = hair and ptilosis = falling out of the eyelashes.  But that was an aside.

In the non-literal sense it means to focus on and argue about small, tedious details, to concentrate on tiny, unimportant details to find fault with something.  Splitting hair implies an element of being pedantic and overly precise.

As always I cannot resist an example that mentions Daniel Craig and so here is an example for splitting hair from Casino Royale (link here):

In the James Bond book “Casino Royale,” Bond sips a martini and tells a bartender, “Excellent…but if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better.” He then adds, “Mais n’enculons pas des mouches.” This phrase means “But let us not split hairs” in French.  (the again the phrase might not even be in the movie – just the book.  Never mind.)

It is used in the negative form “let’s not split hair” to express that one does not want to argue about minutiae.

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