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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 nuanced
  • There are all sorts of nuanced versions of this, but they all amount to the same thing.
  • Accents are only the tip of the iceberg in the subtly nuanced differences there are in various cultures.
  • Historical facts provide a more nuanced view of who was with whom, and why.
  • Fairy-tale scholars explore the nuanced history of the genre.
  • Look beyond the broad indices, though, and the picture is more nuanced.
  • It displays nuanced physiological adaptations you'd expect toward the endpoint of modern bipedal foot development, he added.
  • But of course it's far more complicated and nuanced.
  • The outlook for commercial building is more nuanced.
  • Her behavior that afternoon, though violent, had been nuanced.
  • Behind this muscular display, however, is a more nuanced reality.
British Dictionary definitions for nuanced

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 nuanced
adj.

1896, past participle adjective from verb nuance (q.v.).

The new co-operative history of English literature which the University of Cambridge is now publishing prints "genre" without italics. And it even permits one contributor--and a contributor who is discussing Shakespeare!--to say that something is delicately "nuanced." Is there now an English verb "to nuance"? It is terrible to think of the bad language the scholars of the venerable English university might have used if "nuanced" had been first discovered in the text of an American author. [Scribner's Magazine," January 1911]

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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nuanced 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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