What exactly does nuance mean?

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I’ve read the online definitions but it doesn’t make sense with the way people use it. What do people mean when they talk about nuance?

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It’s small details and context. For example, Killmonger in Black Panther. He’s a bad guy, but it’s not that simple. You can understand his motivations even if the way he goes about it is radical and violent. There is nuance.

If you didn’t understand the online definition, I’m not sure how we can help.

Nuance is a slight variation or distinction… a small difference in meaning or feeling.

Nuance is about small details and context that help to understand something fully. Often, looking at something with nuance will make it more complicated, because you can’t just ignore the parts that go against the point you want to make.

Un nuanced: X is bad always, we should ban it!!

Nuanced: x is bad in most situations, but there are some good things that can come out of it, and just banning it outright would cause a whole host of other problems, so we need to do this carefully.

As you can see, nuanced takes on things tend to be longer and much more grey-area, but they are usually more reallistic.

Nuanced means its not as straightforward as you might think at a glance.

Think of a basic story line in a kids book where the good guy is clearly 100% good, and the bad guy is 100% bad and it is clear and predictable. No nuance at all.

In a more adult book following the same characters and the same overall plot, you might find the “bad guy” is just lashing out due to trama they experienced and “good guy” has his own demons.

With a few layers added and a bit of back story, you can make it much harder to determine the good guy vs bad guy. Or perhaps the “good guy” is actually a bully and the “bad guy” is just misunderstood.

When a complex problem seems black and white the answer often lies in the grey, that’s where you’ll find nuance