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’
    • ‘Well, I don't think the objection captures the nuance of the Catholic position.’
    • ‘You can savor delicate musical nuances without disturbing others.’
    • ‘On the other hand, lust so drives men that they have difficulty understanding the emotional nuances of love.’
    • ‘He needs to get a little bigger, but he understands the nuances of a difficult position.’
    • ‘In short, he's learning subtle nuances.’
    • ‘Students also appreciated the added nuances and inflections of meaning that are possible in speech.’
    • ‘Understanding such cultural nuances is important and can avoid unfortunate mishaps.’
    • ‘What other moods and emotional nuances are portrayed by the rapper actors?’
    • ‘Silence here is related to nuances of meaning and shifts in a writer's focus.’
    • ‘Cultural nuances play a roll in the use and acceptance of communications technologies in Asia.’
    • ‘There is no nuance to her character, no secret artistic passion or deep personal pain.’
    • ‘Where can they find people who understand the culture, down to its finest nuances?’
    • ‘The new animation done specifically for this release captures every nuance of the series.’
    • ‘Rather, he is a musician's musician, one who harvests a composition for its intimacy and expressive nuance.’
    • ‘Corporate and government leaders can't grasp the nuances of a process - they have no idea.’
    • ‘With her full concentration on her subject, she caught little nuances those with pads or recorders missed.’
    • ‘But for Judaism, the Hebrew Bible cannot be properly understood without grasping the nuances of its original language.’
    • ‘It's not a point of view I've ever heard before, and I may not entirely have got the subtler nuances of it.’
    • ‘To them, I say, you obviously don't appreciate the subtle comedic nuances of Question Time.’
    • ‘He joined Barista as a brew master and soon mastered the finer nuances of coffee.’
    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’
    • ‘Of course, a ‘blanket ban’ on drinking on public transport will be nuanced much like the smoking ban was.’
    • ‘Bree's prim, proper, and pernickety worried-but-coping manner is beautifully delivered and finely nuanced by Huffman into a very believable performance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each mood and move is perfectly underscored and nuanced by sensitively composed music.’
    • ‘Anyone working on the "Colonial Connection" in Britain, would find materials here which nuance the understanding of missionary lives.’
    • ‘The new scholarship nevertheless significantly nuances the received account of women's experiences after independence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So, yes, they talk around the edges - nuancing this, quibbling with that - as they search for an edge in an election year.’
    • ‘Tornay's approach, however, is nuanced by the self-reflection that has characterized social anthropology during the past generation.’
    • ‘How can the filmmaker nuance his work in a language that he does not know?’
    • ‘Each word is nuanced most perfectly, and it is all done with the greatest integrity and simplicity.’
    • ‘Now on trip 14, 75 days away from Election Day, he is attempting to nuance his position to have it both ways.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sharp is to be congratulated for nuancing a very important and complex prophetic book.’
    • ‘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’.