I ran like lightening down the stairs of the subway station. As I rushed downstairs, I ducked and dived as I tried to outmaneuver the commuters walking up the staircase. I arrived on the platform and took a leap towards the subway… THUMP… I bumped into the doors as they closed suddenly. Nooooo! I had missed the subway by a hair’s breadth and I was going to be late for work!
Has the situation above ever happened to you? In today’s video, Dara gives more great examples of this idiom in use. Click on the video below to learn more!
How broad is a single hair? It’s pretty thin, right?
That’s right, and because of this, when we say a hair’s breadth, we mean a tiny margin or a tiny distance.
But how can we use this phrase naturally? Let’s see:
- Usain Bolt won the race by a hair’s breadth, finishing just 0.02 seconds ahead of Justin Gatlin.
- I came top of my class … by a hair’s breadth! I finished just 0.1% higher than my friend Jennifer.
- [On phone] Hello? Yeah, Paul, sorry, I’m going to be late. I missed the bus by a hair’s breadth.
So, there we are. Have you ever got something or missed something by a hair’s breadth?
How might you use this expression in a sentence? Why not try it out in the comments section below? Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Did you ever catch a train or a subway just as the doors closed?
- Were you ever in very close competition with a coworker for a promotion? What happened?
- Did you ever lose to your friends in a board game like Snakes and Ladders by a very short distance?