[ noo-ahns, nyoo-, noo-ahns, nyoo-; French ny-ahns ]
See synonyms for: nuancenuances on

noun,plural nu·anc·es [noo-ahn-siz, nyoo-, noo-ahn-siz, nyoo-; French ny-ahns]. /ˈnu ɑn sɪz, ˈnyu-, nuˈɑn sɪz, nyu-; French nüˈɑ̃s/.
  1. a subtle difference or distinction in expression, meaning, response, etc.

  2. a very slight difference or variation in color or tone.

verb (used with object),nu·anced, nu·anc·ing.
  1. to give nuance to; to color: She carefully nuanced her words, to put a positive spin on the situation.

Origin of nuance

First recorded in 1775–85; from French: “shade, hue,” equivalent to nu(er) “to shade” (literally, “to cloud”), from unattested Vulgar Latin nūbāre, derivative of unattested nūba, for Latin nūbēs “cloud”) + -ance noun suffix; see -ance

Other words for nuance

Other words from nuance

  • nu·anced, adjective

Words Nearby nuance Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use nuance in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for nuance


/ (njuːˈɑːns, ˈnjuːɑːns) /

  1. a subtle difference in colour, meaning, tone, etc; a shade or graduation

verb(tr; passive)
  1. to give subtle differences to: carefully nuanced words

Origin of nuance

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

Cultural definitions for nuance


[ (nooh-ahns) ]

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

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