Dictionary.com

nuance

[ noo-ahns, nyoo-, noo-ahns, nyoo-; French ny-ahns ]
/ ˈnu ɑns, ˈnyu-, nuˈɑns, nyu-; French nüˈɑ̃s /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: nuance / nuances on Thesaurus.com

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/.
a subtle difference or distinction in expression, meaning, response, etc.
a very slight difference or variation in color or tone.
verb (used with object), nu·anced, nu·anc·ing.
to give nuance to; to color: She carefully nuanced her words, to put a positive spin on the situation.
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

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 FROM nuance

nu·anced, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use nuance in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for nuance

nuance
/ (njuːˈɑːns, ˈnjuːɑːns) /

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

Word Origin for 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

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.
FEEDBACK