What do you call the the action of making up or seeking very illogical, unreasonable and unimportant ("excuses") or/and ("objections"). I wonder what idiom/expression/verb do you normally use for that?

Example for "objections":

Husband: Surprise! I have concluded the contract and we will fly tomorrow to Rome.
Wife: Wooow! Wonderful!
Husband: Here are some photos from the five-stars hotel in the heart of the Rome. Have a look on them darling. Meanwhile, have you collected your stuff sweetheart? We should leave at 3 a.m. and we're really short of time.
Wife: Oh, honey; I know that I told you I'g come along with you, but I've changed my mind now! I cannot accompany you!
Husband: What?! What's the matter?!
Wife: Nothing, I just don't like the color of the rooms within the hotel!
Husband: Ah; .this is..................../ you're ........................

The only word that I know as a verb is nitpicking which based on dictionary definitions has nothing specific with making up / seeking "excuses" or "objections".

To nitpick:

Giving too much attention to details that are not important, especially as a way of criticizing:

Example: If you spent less time nitpicking, you'd get more work done.

Please let me know what native speakers use in this sense?

  • I think "making (up) excuses" is the closest English gets.
    – gotube
    Aug 17, 2021 at 0:37

2 Answers 2


It can be described with the idioms "grasping at straws" or "splitting hairs." When someone is "grasping at straws," they are trying to find any possible, albeit weak or insignificant, reasons to support their argument or justify their actions. On the other hand, "splitting hairs" refers to focusing on minor or trivial details instead of addressing the main point or issue at hand.


One possible avenue among others to discover the answer you are looking for: what are the precise/exact words or phrases in your native language? (from there, an online translator or dictionary could be consulted.)

In English there are a number of words which emphasis the objection/excuse is false:

cover story

Here are more than 30 synonyms for "excuse"

If instead, you prefer to emphasis the objection/excuse is trivial, however not necessarily false:


And then, to combine both trivial and false together:

a silly pretext
an unreasonable rationalization

Those are not "idioms" though.

Of course, you may also use your own words from the original question: "That's an unreasonable and trivial objection."

  • Thank you @sam, but what is your own pick among these all in this sense to indicate both unreasonable excuse making and unjustifiable objection seeking? I know there are lots of variants. But what we say is somehow not respectful towards a specifulic religion. We attribute such excuse or objection making sort three main religions which doesn't seem to be even polite to mention about it. It was why I disn't bring it up in my original post.
    – A-friend
    Jun 23, 2019 at 16:38
  • @A-friend It's interesting to notice that many of the above mentioned synonyms for "excuse" like "cover story", "alibi", "pretext" all strongly associate the excuse with falsehood. In the translation you are looking for, is the excuse maker telling lies, or they are making unreasonable excuses which perhaps they believe are true? Then the emphasis is on "unreasonable" instead of "false". Again, I would simply use your own wording "unjustifiable objection" etc. Or, are you looking for an idiom? Like "a dime a dozen", "better late than never", that sort of thing.
    – Sam
    Jun 23, 2019 at 17:09
  • Thank you very much @Sam, Actually according to what you noticed, the woman in my original post was going to make unreasonable excuses to avoid leaving. Thinking twice, I think it would be even so much the better to find an idiom for that "excuse" or/and "objection" seeking. :)
    – A-friend
    Jun 24, 2019 at 6:40
  • Well @Sam, you mentioned that: "I would simply use your own wording "unjustifiable objection etc." So can we say what she does is an "unjustifiable / unreasonable objection / excuse making" and her action is: "making unjustifiable / unreasonable objections / excuses"?
    – A-friend
    Jun 24, 2019 at 7:46

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