nu·ance (näns′, ny-, n-äns, ny-)
1. A subtle or slight degree of difference, as in meaning, feeling, or tone; a gradation.
2. Expression or appreciation of subtle shades of meaning, feeling, or tone: a rich artistic performance, full of nuance.
tr.v. nu·anced, nu·anc·ing, nu·anc·es
To treat or consider with nuance; give nuances to: new information that nuanced their understanding of the situation.
[French, from Old French, from nuer, to shade, cloud, from nue, cloud, from Vulgar Latin *nūba, from Latin nūbēs.]
Synonyms: nuance, gradation, shade
These nouns denote a slight variation or differentiation between nearly identical entities: sensitive to delicate nuances of style; gradations of feeling from infatuation to deep affection; subtle shades of meaning.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.