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TODAY THE WORDS are SPLITTING HAIRS. Who came up with this phrase? This phrase, meaning to argue extensively over trifles or fine distinctions, appears in several texts on expressions and cliches. All of them indicate an origin in the 17th century. The 1652 citation in the OED uses the phrase “cut the hair”, but the meaning is clearly the same, to wit: “Machiavel cut the hair when he advised, not absolutely to disavow conscience, but to manage it with such a prudent neglect, as is scarce discernible from a tenderness.”
Charles Earl Funk writes (in 1948) that “splitting hairs” originally meant “to divide into exactly even amounts, so precisely as to afford no slightest advantage.” His book A Hog On Ice And Other Curious Expressions offers no citation in support of this belief. I found no other references to this meaning in any authoritative volume; thus, I discount it. (excerpt from Mr. Lucky)
I feel the second reference applies to this message and focus and I add the modern interpretation of “arguing over something trivial which makes no difference”. How many times, especially in these times do we find ourselves splitting hairs? We are striving for equality, equal rights (as if we have many left to argue over), equal pay, equal whatever and whatever. When did we decide in a normal world, things are ever equal. When I was growing up, and a lot of my readers were there with me; we were not equally in finances, residences, clothing, and even down to the shoes (I always wanted the branded penny loafers) but we accepted our lives and were happy in spite of our economic status. I was friends with the “well off” kids as we called them. No one ever mistreated me because we were not “rich” and life was good. It didn’t scar me; it inspired me. I didn’t blame; I thanked my parents for always providing the best they could. So when did Americans start splitting hairs over everything? When did we stop dreaming the American Dream? My dear friend, published author and songwriter quoted this phrase this morning, “Things viewed in your mirror of dreams are closer than you think “ courtesy of Peggy Mercer. This phrase is putting us on track and not splitting hairs. We, with the help of our Maker, are in charge of our dreams. People of all statures can accomplish whatever they are willing to sacrifice to obtain their dreams. It is not our race, our culture, our wealth, our background which keeps us from success; it is our mindset. If we keep from “splitting hairs” and start applying all of our talents and grace; life will smile back on us. Action not reaction moves us forward!
DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.<sup class="crossreference" value="(F)”> Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
(c) copyright 2013 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission.