Trend Watch

Nuance

Backlash against comments made by a State Department spokeswoman ...


When:

Lookups spiked on February 18, 2015.

nuance-marie-harf

Why:

A State Department spokeswoman appeared on MSNBC to discuss the ISIS threat, saying:

We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium and longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups...

The spokeswoman, Marie Harf, was then criticized for seeming to advocate a policy that is not aggressive enough against the terrorists. Asked to clarify her statement on CNN the following day, she said:

We cannot kill every terrorist around the world, nor should we try. How do you get at the root causes of this? It might be too nuanced an argument for some...

Her use of the word nuance became the subject of more comments from those who felt that Ms. Harf was being condescending to her critics.

Nuance means "a subtle distinction or variation" and comes from the French word that means "a shade of color," and ultimately from the Latin word meaning "cloud."



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