I understand the word nuance means a very slight/subtle difference specifically applies to meanings, sounds, colours, feelings, and expressions. But what about movements, is there a word that denotes a very slight difference in somebody's movements that is not very obvious?

For example, if I'm in a room next to another room and the rooms are so silent that I could hear virtually every movement/action that the person on the other room makes, not only do I hear him walking, moving objects, him eating/drinking, writing/typing, etc., I could also hear the not so obvious/noticeable movements such as maybe him scratching his arm/leg, rubbing his eyes, to him squirming in his chair, just every subtle movements imaginable.

An example sentence maybe, he has extraordinary trained sense organs that could detect a person's every [?] of movement. Or I could hear every [?] of movement he makes in the other room. Is there a word that could replace nuance in this case to describe movements instead?

  • I'm not aware of anything that prohibits the use of nuance to describe movement. Also, why is your use of slight and subtle insufficient? They complement nuance quite well. Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 19:17
  • 1
    @coleopterist: yes, but 'nuance' is metaphorical for physical movements; the OP is looking for something more literal. like 'twitch', but...um... more nuanced than that.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 19:32
  • Nuance really has more to do with a difference in meaning as a result of the subtle difference in the motion, sound, etc.
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 20:48

6 Answers 6


You can consider the word, shift:

1 a slight change in position, direction, or tendency

Employing it in your provided sentence would render it so:

He has extraordinarily trained sense organs that can detect a person's every shift in movement.*

*of replaced with in.

A slightly more pronounced movement could be described as a shuffle.

For a non-literal alternative, consider the word, hint:

1 a slight or indirect indication or suggestion:
he has given no hint of his views
a very small trace of something:
Randall smiled with a hint of mockery

The sample sentence can be reworded to incorporate hint:

He has extraordinarily trained sense organs that can detect even the slightest hint of a person's every movement.


You could replace "X of movement" with stirring.

stirring n.
A slight motion or moving about: restless stirrings.

Note that it does not describe an aspect of movement, but the qualitative movement itself.


I think that perhaps "subtle (or "subtlety" for a noun) might be best applied. It doesn't specifically imply movement, but is regularly and appropriately applied to it. (But nuance would also be appropriate in your examples.)


how about "his senses could detect every flicker of movement"

I might also suggest "he could detect even the slightest hint of a movement"


every articulation of movement

every disposition of movement

every variation of movement

every emphasis of movement

every attribute of movement

every coherence of movement

every character of movement





Just ideas. It’s an open field really; to make your nuanced point.


You could also go with iota: an infinitesimal amount.

I could hear every iota of movement he made in the other room.

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