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See also: hair's breadth


Alternative forms[edit]


From hair +‎ -s- +‎ breadth.



hairsbreadth (plural hairsbreadths)

  1. a very short distance or a very small amount (as is the width of a hair)
    • 1597, William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Act IV, Scene 2)
      I see you are obsequious in your love, and I profess requital to a hair's breadth;
    • 1857, Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, book 1, chapter 30
      ... it was characteristic of this man, as it is of all men similarly marked, that whatever he did, he overdid, though it were sometimes by only a hairsbreadth...
    • 1919, John Buchan, Mr. Standfast
      We've missed our shot by a hairsbreadth and that's the same as missing by miles.
    • 2010, Neil McDonald, Quadrant, March 2010, No. 464 (Volume LIV, Number 3), Quadrant Magazine Limited, page 100:
      In Avatar the spectacular rides to the rescue and hairsbreadth escapes have the whole film behind them and because of that are dramatically and emotionally satisfying.

Derived terms[edit]