Definition of nuance in English:



  • A subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound.

    ‘he was familiar with the nuances of the local dialect’
    • ‘Students also appreciated the added nuances and inflections of meaning that are possible in speech.’
    • ‘The new animation done specifically for this release captures every nuance of the series.’
    • ‘He joined Barista as a brew master and soon mastered the finer nuances of coffee.’
    • ‘On the other hand, lust so drives men that they have difficulty understanding the emotional nuances of love.’
    • ‘You can savor delicate musical nuances without disturbing others.’
    • ‘To them, I say, you obviously don't appreciate the subtle comedic nuances of Question Time.’
    • ‘Silence here is related to nuances of meaning and shifts in a writer's focus.’
    • ‘In short, he's learning subtle nuances.’
    • ‘There is no nuance to her character, no secret artistic passion or deep personal pain.’
    • ‘Rather, he is a musician's musician, one who harvests a composition for its intimacy and expressive nuance.’
    • ‘Understanding such cultural nuances is important and can avoid unfortunate mishaps.’
    • ‘Cultural nuances play a roll in the use and acceptance of communications technologies in Asia.’
    • ‘Corporate and government leaders can't grasp the nuances of a process - they have no idea.’
    • ‘He needs to get a little bigger, but he understands the nuances of a difficult position.’
    • ‘But for Judaism, the Hebrew Bible cannot be properly understood without grasping the nuances of its original language.’
    • ‘Where can they find people who understand the culture, down to its finest nuances?’
    • ‘With her full concentration on her subject, she caught little nuances those with pads or recorders missed.’
    • ‘What other moods and emotional nuances are portrayed by the rapper actors?’
    • ‘Well, I don't think the objection captures the nuance of the Catholic position.’
    • ‘It's not a point of view I've ever heard before, and I may not entirely have got the subtler nuances of it.’
    fine distinction, subtle difference, subtle distinction, shade, shading, gradation, variation, modulation, degree
    View synonyms


[with object]
  • Give nuances to.

    ‘the effect of the music is nuanced by the social situation of listeners’
    • ‘Each word is nuanced most perfectly, and it is all done with the greatest integrity and simplicity.’
    • ‘The new scholarship nevertheless significantly nuances the received account of women's experiences after independence.’
    • ‘Bree's prim, proper, and pernickety worried-but-coping manner is beautifully delivered and finely nuanced by Huffman into a very believable performance.’
    • ‘They are, at the same time, autobiographies that emphasize how memories and consciousness of the working of ethnicity in the United States inform and nuance their writing.’
    • ‘Tornay's approach, however, is nuanced by the self-reflection that has characterized social anthropology during the past generation.’
    • ‘Each mood and move is perfectly underscored and nuanced by sensitively composed music.’
    • ‘Marcillat's window enriched and nuanced the chapel's iconography, complementing the themes of Incarnation, Passion, and the cycle of salvation evoked in Pontormo's paintings.’
    • ‘If I may nuance the article's thesis: to posit nihilism in the ancient world is not free of a certain anachronism.’
    • ‘Now on trip 14, 75 days away from Election Day, he is attempting to nuance his position to have it both ways.’
    • ‘Torn by the collision of faith and rage, she has not officiated at a church service since her daughter died, and although she has not quit the priesthood, her faith is nuanced by doubt.’
    • ‘The extract demonstrates the importance of nuancing many approaches to the study of society - human or primate - and she achieves this by reflecting simultaneously on identity and difference in her discussions.’
    • ‘How can the filmmaker nuance his work in a language that he does not know?’
    • ‘So, yes, they talk around the edges - nuancing this, quibbling with that - as they search for an edge in an election year.’
    • ‘Sharp is to be congratulated for nuancing a very important and complex prophetic book.’
    • ‘While archaeological perspectives on the passage of Greece into the Roman empire have begun to be explored, further detailed regional studies are needed to nuance the current generalized picture.’
    • ‘Anyone working on the "Colonial Connection" in Britain, would find materials here which nuance the understanding of missionary lives.’
    • ‘Of course, a ‘blanket ban’ on drinking on public transport will be nuanced much like the smoking ban was.’
    • ‘A singer must also know how that soprano blew her audiences away by flawlessly mixing her registers, phrasing with magisterial grandeur, and nuancing her voice with such expressive color.’


Late 18th century: from French, ‘shade, subtlety’, from nuer ‘to shade’, based on Latin nubes ‘cloud’.