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nuance

[noo-ahns, nyoo-, noo-ahns, nyoo-; French ny-ahns]
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.
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Origin of nuance

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 formsnu·anced, adjectiveun·nu·anced, adjective

Synonyms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nuanced

Contemporary Examples


British Dictionary definitions for nuanced

nuance

noun
  1. a subtle difference in colour, meaning, tone, etc; a shade or graduation
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verb (tr; passive)
  1. to give subtle differences tocarefully nuanced words
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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

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]
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nuance

v.

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

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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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nuanced in Culture

nuance

[(nooh-ahns)]

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

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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.