AskDefine | Define hairbreadth

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Alternative forms

Etymology

From hair + breadth.

Pronunciation

  • (Canada) /ˈhɛrˌbrɛdθ/

Noun

  1. the width of a hair, a very short distance or a very small amount
    • 1749: Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
      In short, these kind of hairbreadth missings of happiness look like the insults of Fortune, who may be considered as thus playing tricks with us, and wantonly diverting herself at our expense.
    • 1799: Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Huntly
      This surely was a day destined to be signalized by hairbreadth escapes.
    • 1856: Wilkie Collins, After Dark
      Measure Maddalena, and measure Minerva, and from forehead to chin, you won't find a hairbreadth of difference between them.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ace, bit, bowshot, brief span, close quarters, close range, closeness, confinement, crack, crowdedness, earreach, earshot, gunshot, hair, hair space, hairsbreadth, incapaciousness, inch, incommodiousness, limitation, little, little ways, narrow gauge, narrowness, nearness, pistol shot, restrictedness, restriction, short distance, short piece, short way, slenderness, span, spitting distance, step, straitness, strictness, tight squeeze, tightness, whisker
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