August 19, 2013
- nuance (noun)
- What does it mean?
- : a slight shade or degree of difference (as in color, tone, or meaning)
- How do you use it?
- As Elizabeth read her poem, the inflections and nuances in her voice made the verses come alive.
- Are you a word wiz?
"Nuance" came into English from French, but the root of the French word is "nubes," the Latin word for a natural phenomenon. To what natural phenomenon do you think "nubes" refers?Your mind isn't cloudy if you picked answer C. "Nubes" is the Latin word for "cloud." The French adopted "nubes" as "nue," keeping the original meaning of "cloud." Clouds often have different shades of color in them or cause other things to appear in different shades, so from "nue" the French developed the verb "nuer," meaning "to make shades of color." The corresponding French noun, "nuance," also developed, meaning "shade of color." English borrowed "nuance" from the French in the late 1700s, attaching to it the figurative meaning "a shade of difference."