To split hairs is a known idiom that means to argue about petty things. I looked into the etymology of the idiom but could not get to grips with the literal meaning. The comments assume the reader knows the literal meaning.
So does split hairs mean:
- Arrange hair to make visible lines on the head?
- Cut individual hairs?
- Split one hair into two pieces either horizontally or vertically!
to argue about very small differences or unimportant details
It's splitting hairs to tell people that they cannot lie but it is all right if they exaggerate.
Make small and overfine distinctions:
- one of those medieval disputes which split hairs endlessly
- Yes, I do see the distinction and am perhaps splitting hairs over the delivery of the message.
- One sentence in the manual required that lawyers participating in the recount should ‘have the courage to voice disagreement and must split hairs trying to find faults.’
- I'm perhaps splitting hairs, here, but there has got to be a difference between drawing influence from various sources and plagiarizing.