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A nuance (from French nuance [ ny.ɑ̃s ], "shading; trifle; gradation; fineness") is a small, often hardly noticeable gradation or a qualitative change within a continuum or within an ordered set of similar elements. For example, there are nuances of meaning, nuances of color, nuances of taste and nuances of tone.

Nuance of meaning

Nuances of meaning often appear with synonyms . Synonyms are not exactly the same, but have a small but important difference. The words “for free” and “free of charge” are largely used synonymously, but this only applies in connection with the price. “Free” has a wider meaning and also means “in vain”.

A slight nuance of meaning can also result from sentences that are otherwise synonymous with different grammatical forms. So “I'll go to the cinema tomorrow” means the same thing as “I'll go to the cinema tomorrow”. However, depending on the region, there may be a nuance in the degree of certainty with which the project is to be carried out. Nuances of meaning can also occur through different emphasis on otherwise identical sentences:

  • I will go to the cinema tomorrow - the person emphasizes: “And nobody else”.
  • I'm going to the cinema tomorrow - highlights the fact: “And nobody's going to stop me”.
  • I'll go to the cinema tomorrow - highlights the point in time: “And not today”.
  • I will go to the cinema tomorrow - emphasizes the work on site: "And not to stop in front of it".
  • I'm going to the cinema tomorrow - highlights the place: “And not to school”.
  • I will go to the cinema tomorrow - highlights the activity: “And don't drive”.

Here, by an emphasis on nuance a nuance of meaning can be achieved.

Color shade

Temporal color nuances due to changes in lighting are barely noticeable. This is how the eye adapts to changes in lighting. On the other hand, color nuances in a surface can easily be recognized as spots, at least if they have sharp transitions.


Web links

Wiktionary: Nuance  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations