balanced on a beard-hair

aintor

Senior Member
Chinese
He was being acknowledged as a speaker worth hearing, and the world seemed to be listening. But, deliberately or not, he was also painting a self-portrait of his struggle to "keep quiet" and let others speak -- a constant battle whose outcome always seemed balanced on a beard-hair.
Hi Everybody,

What does the phrase in red mean? Does it mean "half and half" or something else?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I would imagine that it means finely or delicately or precariously balanced -- ready to fall one way or the other at the slightest disturbance.
     

    aintor

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I would imagine that it means finely or delicately or precariously balanced -- ready to fall one way or the other at the slightest disturbance.
    So it's not some slang or idiom? Just a random usage coined by the author?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Balanced on a hair sounds like a familiar idiom.
    Balanced on a beard-hair is new to me. Beard hairs tend to be thicker than head hairs, and are less likely to be straight. It would be easier to balance on a thicker hair, but harder to balance on a twisty hair, so I don't know whether it is more or less precarious to be balance on a beard hair.
     

    aintor

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Balanced on a hair sounds like a familiar idiom.
    Balanced on a beard-hair is new to me. Beard hairs tend to be thicker than head hairs, and are less likely to be straight. It would be easier to balance on a thicker hair, but harder to balance on a twisty hair, so I don't know whether it is more or less precarious to be balance on a beard hair.
    Hahahaha....Thank you panjandrum, the author is truly cute. But no matter it's more or less precarious, it is on the whole precarious right?
     
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