Definition of nuance in US English:



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

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


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