What is the best Spanish translation of the English word "cheesy" (something inauthentic, trying too hard to be funny, cheap, shabby, etc.)?

6 Answers 6


As I understand "cheesy", the translation is "cursi". And it works in Hispanoamerica too, not only in Spain. "Caseoso" is out of discussion, that's for something related to "cheese".

  • 1
    I'd say 'cursi' would work 75% of the times to accurately translate 'cheesy'. Options in other answers would suit better in some cases and should be considered as well.
    – deStrangis
    Sep 19, 2014 at 10:55

Terms I've heard:

  • Cursi


¡Eres muy cursi!

  • Note, that cursi would be understood in Spain only.
    – vartec
    Jan 12, 2012 at 16:10
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure I've heard cursi in Mexico, too.
    – Flimzy
    Jan 12, 2012 at 18:09
  • 1
    Also in Argentina
    – Kage
    Jan 12, 2012 at 18:49
  • Also in Colombia - Cursi is used everywhere.
    – Icarus
    Jan 12, 2012 at 20:28
  • Also in Chile .
    – dusan
    Jan 13, 2012 at 0:01

Cheesy has another meaning in English appart from "cursi":

  • Inferior or cheap: "de mal gusto" / "cutre" (slang)
  • Of a smile: "insincero"

In fact, I've only seen it used as "cutre"

Source: http://www.wordreference.com/definition/cheesy

  • 1
    I believe 'cutre' is Spain only slang.
    – deStrangis
    Sep 19, 2014 at 10:57
  • 1
    No, 'cutre' is slang in Perú too.
    – Ricardo
    Sep 25, 2014 at 4:47

«Hortera» is also a good match

  • I'm native, never heard Hortera nor do I know what it means. Wouldn't recommend using it to avoid weird "What?" looks Dec 14, 2019 at 2:09
  • In European Spanish is totally common (Google shows 700.000 results)
    – rafabayona
    Jan 24, 2020 at 15:42
  • Maybe only in Spain, because I'm from south america and never heard of it. For instance, the other suggested translation, "Cursi", has 7.1 million results. Showing it's used more than 10 times more online at least Jan 25, 2020 at 16:43

I always think of 'cursi' as more like 'twee' really than 'cheesy'. 'Hortera' definitely maps on better. ¡No hay parto sin dolor ni hortera sin transistor! That was a saying in the 80s-a properly cheesy decade at the time that people now seem to have retro-fitted as cool. Cheesy is really to do with the gap between self-image/promotion of a person/thing and its reality to the beholder. So Julio Iglesias was Borat-level cheesy to 70s/80s english ears of a certain age but maybe was an icon of romance to their aunts/mums? Maybe cheesy is 'masculine-style to excess' and twee is 'female-style to excess'? Lo que tienen en comun es que en ambos casos se han pasado 3 pueblos.

A radar for cheesiness is definitely more of an english than a spanish thing though! Everything in moderation...

  • "Twee" is not a very common word at all (at least as far as my linguistic sphere is concerned) and could meaning something more specific, more like cutesy; whereas "cheesy" is extremely common and has a broader use.
    – nopaltepec
    Aug 26, 2021 at 13:05

Despende del contexto. Cheesy, también puede significar "mantecoso", "pastoso", "oleoso". Hace referencia a algo denso. No veo la relación con "cursi". Más bién con alguien o algo pesado, medio cargante, difícil de tragar

  • 1
    Lamento decirte que tu uso de la palabra es ajeno al que le da normalmente (por lo menos en Norteamérica). Signfica normalmente algo dicho/hecho con la intención de hacer gracias, o al que se haya querido infudir de sentimentalismo o de hondura, pero que se quede corto y termine sonando mal.
    – nopaltepec
    Aug 26, 2021 at 13:22

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