Getting into the weeds – or the capillaries

“Getting into the weeds” is a confusing metaphor.  I think of a search for something lost, like a golf ball.

But folks use the phrase to mean looking at details.  http://www.word-detective.com/2011/05/getting-into-the-weeds/.  If so, “getting into the capillaries” (an old metaphor used by tax policy folks thinking through details) would be clearer.  Weeds are all bad; capillaries require careful, detailed, individual attention.  Some capillaries are working well, some need fixing, and some are beyond fixing — like different parts of a statutory draft.  Maybe capillaries is too big a word these days.  See http://www.languagemonitor.com/about/news/obamas-acceptance-speech-at-9th-grade-level/

 

 

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