nuance

[noo-ahns, nyoo-, noo-ahns, nyoo-; French ny-ahns]
noun, plural nuances [noo-ahn-siz, nyoo-, noo-ahn-siz, nyoo-; French ny-ahns] .
1.
a subtle difference or distinction in expression, meaning, response, etc.
2.
a very slight difference or variation in color or tone.

Origin:
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

nuanced, adjective
unnuanced, adjective


1. subtlety, nicety, hint, refinement.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
nuance (njuːˈɑːns, ˈnjuːɑːns)
 
n
1.  a subtle difference in colour, meaning, tone, etc; a shade or graduation
 
vb
2.  to give subtle differences to: carefully nuanced words
 
[C18: from French, from nuer to show light and shade, ultimately from Latin nūbēs a cloud]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

nuance
1781, from Fr. nuance "slight difference, shade of color," from nuer "to shade," from nue "cloud," from Gallo-Romance *nuba, from L. nubes "cloud;" related to obnubere "to veil," from PIE *sneudh- "fog" (cf. Avestan snaoda "clouds," Welsh nudd "fog," Gk. nython, in Hesychius "dark, dusky").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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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Example sentences
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.
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