nuance

June 1, 2022

Nuance / noun / nu·​ance

We use “nuance” as a noun in the English language that describes a subtle action or behavior that changes the tone of a situation. “Nuance” can also represent subtle changes in music and sound. Originally derived from the word nuer representing shades of color, “nuance,” as we use it today, represents subtle changes in shades of tone, voice, or attitude in everyday interactions. “Nuance” is an intangible, unseen part of language and human behavior that can have positive or negative effects on social interactions. Understanding when and how to use “nuance” is a valuable social skill in our society.

In a Sentence

The guests appreciated the nuanced decor of the wedding chapel, which included floating clouds and angels.

The nuanced sound of the music puts the listener in a peaceful state of mind.

People who understand the use of nuance are likely to have better social engagements.

Etymology

We first see the use of the word “nuance” in the late 17th century, around 1781. Nuance shows up as the Middle French term nuer, representing subtle changes in shades of color. “Nuance,” as we use it today, represents subtle changes in the behavior or attitudes of people during social engagements. We also find “nuance” referenced in early Latin as nubes to describe the appearance of clouds.

Synonym

Subtlety, Hint

Antonym

Meaningless, Insignificant

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