hairsbreadth

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See also: hair's breadth

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From hair +‎ -s- +‎ breadth.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

hairsbreadth (plural hairsbreadths)

  1. A very short distance or a very small amount (as is the width of a hair).
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene ii], page 54, column 1:
      [...] I ſee you are obſequious in your loue, and I profeſſe requitall to a haires bredth, [...]
    • 1855 December – 1857 June, Charles Dickens, “The Word of a Gentleman”, in Little Dorrit, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1857, OCLC 83401042, book the first (Poverty), page 265:
      [I]t 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 hair's-breadth [...]
    • 1919, John Buchan, Mr. Standfast:
      We've missed our shot by a hairsbreadth and that's the same as missing by miles.
    • 2010 March, Neil McDonald, Quadrant, Quadrant Magazine Limited, volume LIV, number 3 (number 464 overall), 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.

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