Meaning of: "You're putting too fine a point on [your argument]."

I’ve heard this phrase 2-3 times in the past year and have no clear understanding of what the speaker really means.

Can you please explain–and provide an example?

Well, if you are sharpening something, you make it thinner when you sharpen the point. The thinner it is, the more likely it is to break.

Could that be it?

You’re getting into too much unnecessary detail and/or sidestepping of something that can be stated simply and bluntly.

Oh yeah – examples:

Also, Miranda is supposed to be only 15 or 16, and not to put too fine a point on it, Ms Price is far too old to conceivably portray that age.

“What really bothers me is the morality of it,” Mr Follett writes. “Not to put too fine a point on it, the whole business stinks.”

My favourite example of this is the apocryphal story of “Passion Fruit”, a gigantic oil painting slashed with red, crimson, purple and scarlet. The paint is fingers thick. The canvas is draped and swathed. It is also, not to put too fine a point on it, sexy.

As is so often the case when dealing with total generalizations, it is useful to think about a specific example. This, not to put too fine a point on it, is the basis of all theoretical work.

As Gary T implies, the phrase is usually “not to put too fine a point on it”. You can replace the whole thing with “frankly”.

The phrase is “not to put too fine a point on it”. I’ve never heard “You’re putting too fine a point on” used, but I suppose it’s similar. Unless it’s one of those illogical corruptions like “I could care less.”

The original phrase means; “I am stating this bluntly because I don’t want to go into specific details that can be otherwise inferred.” Usually because the speaker doesn’t want to draw undue attention to unpleasant or inpolite facts.

I’ve always taken this expression to be the same metaphor as to put it bluntly -

Having a disclaimer / warning function ie I’m about to speak in a direct and possibly offensive manner.

(Not to put too fine a point on it…)

Pretty much as per Futile Gesture on preview…

I haven’t heard that phrase used before, but it would seem to indicate the arguee thinks you’re missing the point.

For example,
A - “I think the problem of jaywalkers can be solved with big trucks that go around running people over”
B - “That’s a dumb idea. You’d have to keep washing out the grill”
where you could say that Mr. B may have a point, but it’s against a trivial subsection of my overall masterful plan. (Hrm. Must price out trucks…)