¿Qué es ser <i>majo, cutre, cursi y hortera</i>?

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¿Qué es ser majo, cutre, cursi y hortera?

Are there any words that can’t be translated? We tend to think that there’s none: you can find a relatively good translation that would reflect the meaning of words for any context. However, for each context the translation might be culture-specific, which means that a dictionary entry for a word would be simply invisible. It’s also possible that there would be only two possible translations, but the difference between them might be unclear.
That’s exactly what happens to the majority of adjectives. In order to explain to a Spaniard the difference between "kind" and "good" (bueno), "blue" и "light blue" (azul), you’d have to provide them with lots of examples. Let’s try to describe with examples 4 adjectives that are hard to translate.

Hortera: this adjective doesn’t change the termination per gender and means "tasteless, vulgar, gaudy"  – but what is tasteless for the Spaniards? Example: sandals over socks (and the worst kind - the thick white ones). As sandals are normally worn during hot weather, why would you put the socks on?
Too bright, gypsy-looking skirt can also be called hortera. Golden chain on a hairy chest, especially with a huge cross. Workout clothes outside of the gym or a treadmill, especially when worn with formal shoes with high heels. Shorts, if you are not playing tennis or going to the beach. Men with several big rings on their fingers. In other words, any combination of things that do not match, showing off expensive clothes, etc.

What does cursi mean? Firstly, something too sentimental. It’s often used to describe naive romantic movies and books. The same word is used for mawkishness, schmalz or fake feelings. Funny that Spaniards also consider most of Latin-Americans cursi. For instance, some salutations that are commonly used in Latin America, such as

Hola mi amor
 ¿Cómo estás, mi tesoro?

for Spanish people sound muy cursi.

When people try to look elegant and sophisticated in the modern democratic society they also might be considered as cursi.

Es cursi levantar el dedo meñique a la hora de coger una copa de vino

Let’s look into some other examples. Pink kitties, purple flowers on a backpack. Mincing girls that pass out from profanity language. Princesses, fairies, little secret diaries. In other words, excessive late " girliness " – especially among adults: home design in pink colors, extravagant hats… Men that are way too sophisticated can also become cursi.

The word cutre is closely related to something that we expected but did’t get, and can be translated as "much worse than expected" (especially money-wise). E.g. to get a $5 pen for your birthday is cutre. A bar with plastic chairs and shabby tables, a car where you need to roll the windows up manually, be improperly dressed for a wedding - all these are good examples of something cutre. However, this adjective can be also applied to people: teachers who are always late and come unprepared, bosses who don’t pay overtime, people who don’t care about their appearance… and so many more! 
 Interesting enough, this word is not necessarily bad - one can use it speaking about themselves or their car

La verdad es que soy un poco cutre
Tengo un coche supercutre

You can still love your old vehicle and respect yourself even if you are late all the time, don’t you?

The word majo is a bit easier to define - an ideal human interaction (as seen by a Spaniard). That is: social, hospitable, open-hearted, good listener. If you need to describe a good person in one word, you´d say: es majo. Such people are always easy to get along with.

Autor/a Jorge Gelfand

  • 1. Define estas situaciones:
  • móvil barato con la pantalla rota
    una tarta con corazones rosas
    regalo de boda por 20 euros
    sillas de plástico
    vestido folclórico en la ópera
    iPhone con diamantes
    sandalias con calcetines
    chándal con tacones
    Hello Kitty
    iPhone con princesitas
    películas demasiado románticas

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  • 2. Forma sustantivos a partir de estos tres adjetivos:
  • cursi →

    hortera →

    cutre →

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