hair's breadth

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - hair's breadth

"hair's breadth"

a very small distance or amount


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - hair's breadth

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: Well? Did the order we send arrive on time? You know the customer said that if this order did not arrive on time that they would take their business elsewhere.

Colleague 2: The order arrived at the customer's warehouse five minutes before the close of business.

Colleague 1: That was too close for comfort. We were a hair's breadth away from losing all that business. We really need to find a way to ship earlier.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - hair's breadth

A couple are talking ...

Wife: You look shaken up. Did something happen on your drive home?

Husband: A bicyclist came out of nowhere and I thought I was going to hit him. Luckily I was able to swerve at the last minute and avoid him. I missed hitting the cyclist by only a hair's breadth. Two more inches and I would have knocked him down.

Wife: Good thing your reactions were so quick.

Test Your Understanding  

hair's breadth - Usage:


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hair's breadth - Gerund Form:

There is no gerund form for a hair's breadth.

hair's breadth - Examples:

1)  ... just as by shifting the rudder a hair's breadth you get a wide deviation at the prow.

2)  Professor Pauling has not deviated a hair's breadth from this pattern of loyalty to the Communist cause since 1946.

3)  ... who placed fourth individually, also came within a hair's breadth of medaling.

4)  ... he pulled Amanda out of the iron pathway by such a hair's breadth that a piston cylinder touched her coat.

5)  It seems we have to get to within a hair's breadth of catastrophe before we realise there's a problem.

6)  One or two narrow escapes from team collisions were averted by a hair's breadth, but as no damage was done, the incidents passed unreported. 

7)  He said the company came a "hair's breadth" from liquidating during the last trip through Chapter 11 that began in 2004, ...

8)  The tragic and the comical are always but a hair's breadth away from each other in life as on the stage. 

9)  A man shooting to kill but missing a vital organ by a hair's breadth can justify his action no more than can the man who hits the organ.

10)  ... with little fanfare, a computer program came within a hair's breadth of passing the Turing test, ...

11)  I believe that there were moments when she came within a hair's breadth of living up to her best traditions. What prevented her at the critical moment ...

12)  ... the World's slimmest slide phone, beating the Samsung U600 by a hair's breadth at 10.6mm.

13)  Socialism is but a hair's breadth away from Fascism. 

14)  ... from chimps by a mere 1.6% of our genetic code. A mere hair's breadth genetically! 

15)  ... problem was the shape of the control room, which was only a hair's breadth off being a perfect square, at 3.69 x 3.64 metres.

16)  There's a hair's breadth between teams. We've had a lot of draws and wanted to turn them ...

17)  Manslaughter, as has been well said, may come within a hair's breadth of murder; it may be a nice and difficult question to decide, depending ...

18)  ... proposition is an outrage and an insult. I will not budge one hair's breadth

19)  The result was an international incident, one which brought England within a hair's breadth of declaring war on the United States.

20)  Duwayne heard everything, and we came a hair's breadth from talking each other into just walking out and never coming back.