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nuance

[noo-ahns, nyoo-, noo-ahns, nyoo-; French ny-ahns] /ˈnu ɑns, ˈnyu-, nuˈɑns, nyu-; French nüˈɑ̃s/
noun, plural nuances
[noo-ahn-siz, nyoo-, noo-ahn-siz, nyoo-; French ny-ahns] /ˈnu ɑn sɪz, ˈnyu-, nuˈɑn sɪz, nyu-; French nüˈɑ̃s/ (Show IPA)
1.
a subtle difference or distinction in expression, meaning, response, etc.
2.
a very slight difference or variation in color or tone.
Origin
1775-1785
1775-85; < French: shade, hue, equivalent to nu(er) to shade (literally, to cloud < Vulgar Latin *nūbāre, derivative of *nūba, for Latin nūbēs cloud) + -ance -ance
Related forms
nuanced, adjective
unnuanced, adjective
Synonyms
1. subtlety, nicety, hint, refinement.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for nuance
  • Even when you turn it down low you won't miss one nuance.
  • Now, he stops frequently to take in every nuance, even in practice rounds.
  • One day a misunderstood writer encounters someone who appreciates every nuance of what he writes.
  • It did, however, require all the pauses and nuance that I could muster.
  • The smallest nuance can have a big impact on meaning in spoken, written, or gestural language.
  • Her believable portrayal is perfectly modulated and nuance-filled, creating a stunning listening experience.
  • They had great speed, too, staying with every nuance of the music.
  • And I still remember every inflection and nuance in his voice, but it has been many, many years.
  • The author's attentiveness to nuance on both sides demands long, trying sentences.
  • While the prose may lack some of the poetic nuance of his early novels, the plot is worthy of a master storyteller.
British Dictionary definitions for nuance

nuance

/njuːˈɑːns; ˈnjuːɑːns/
noun
1.
a subtle difference in colour, meaning, tone, etc; a shade or graduation
verb (transitive; passive)
2.
to give subtle differences to: carefully nuanced words
Word Origin
C18: from French, from nuer to show light and shade, ultimately from Latin nūbēs a cloud
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nuance
n.

1781, from French nuance "slight difference, shade of color" (17c.), from nuer "to shade," from nue "cloud," from Gallo-Romance *nuba, from Latin nubes "a cloud, mist, vapor," from PIE *sneudh- "fog" (cf. Avestan snaoda "clouds," Latin obnubere "to veil," Welsh nudd "fog," Greek nython, in Hesychius "dark, dusky"). According to Klein, a reference to "the different colors of the clouds."

v.

1886, from nuance (n.). Related: Nuanced.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nuance in Culture
nuance [(nooh-ahns)]

A fine shade of meaning: “I liked the film, but I know I missed some of its nuances.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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