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.
- a subtle difference in colour, meaning, tone, etc; a shade or graduation
verb (tr; passive)
- to give subtle differences tocarefully nuanced words
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. A fine shade of meaning: “I liked the film, but I know I missed some of its nuances.”