Friday, October 07, 2005

Cliché: with a fine tooth comb

Meaning: in exceptional detail
Rewrite 1: with a fine-
bristled brush
Rewrite 2: with an
electron microscope
Rewrite 3: with a hefty magnifying lens
Rewrite 4: with the eyes of a tax auditor

Comment: It is easy to quickly use up instruments that can bring matters close at hand, so to recast this one you need to go well beyond the obvious methods. In this case, I went for an occupation known for its use of intense scrutiny. What other occupations might you tap for your metaphor? A jeweler? A watchmaker? An attorney? A fine art restorer?

Note: See definitions in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000. (

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