1 : a subtle distinction or variation
2 : a subtle quality : nicety
3 : sensibility to, awareness of, or ability to express delicate shadings (as of meaning, feeling, or value)
Did You Know?
The history of nuance starts in Latin with the noun nubes, meaning "cloud." Nubes floated into Middle French as nue, also meaning "cloud," and nue gave rise to nuer, meaning "to make shades of color." Nuer in turn produced nuance, which in Middle French meant "shade of color." English borrowed nuance from French, with the meaning "a subtle distinction or variation," in the late 18th century. That use persists today. Additionally, nuance is sometimes used in a specific musical sense, designating a subtle, expressive variation in a musical performance (such as in tempo, dynamic intensity, or timbre) that is not indicated in the score.
"Poetry can enrich the academic and creative life of every student—from a second-grade English Language Learner exploring the nuances of language to the high school student learning to craft stories beyond their next text message." — Suma Karaman Rosen, The Detroit Free Press, 5 Apr. 2019
"The beloved diva sustained exquisite control of her vast vocal resources, enriching line after line with gleaming tone and subtle nuance." — Martin Bernheimer, The Financial Times, 15 Nov. 2016
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