My Spanish course book says "borroso" and "empañado" are synonymous but I'm not sure about that.

I searched these two words on google images and I got steamed up glass for "empañado" and blurry photos for "borroso".

The book I'm reading indicates that both words means "blurry".

  • Both words have different meanings, so you may want to add more context in the question. But in general no, they are not the same.
    – fedorqui
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 0:41
  • @fedorqui Thanks for answering me. The book I'm reading indicates that both words means "blurry".
    – Pierre.A
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 0:57
  • 1
    "Si un cristal está empañado se ve borroso a través de él". empañado implies borroso, but borroso does not imply empañado
    – rpax
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 11:09

4 Answers 4


Borroso is blurry and same as in English is when and image is not sharp. The water vapor in the shower mirror makes the mirror "empañado". Also the breath in a closed car on a cold day make the car windows "empañadas". Your image in that mirror or the images looking through those car windows are "borrosas".

"Empañado" in this context is to cover a shiny or reflective surface on water vapor.

There are a couple more uses of "empañar" like in "Empañar el honor" or "Tiene los ojos empañados por las lagrimas" but these cases are not as related to "borroso" as the others.


When you take a bath, a steamy bath, the bathroom mirror becomes "empañado". When you look at your own reflected image, you image looks "borrosa" (blurry), but the mirror is "empañado".

"Empañado" refers to the steam film covering the glass of the mirror, for example.


Both words could be considered synonyms since the effect is very similar. Is the cause of that effect that would make you choose one over the other.

As the other answers are stating, the main difference is that empañado is used to describe a blurry image due to water vapor or condensation. Thus, an image is borrosa but not empañada for example

  • when I take off my glasses and I can't see
  • when my tv is not getting good reception, and image is blurry
  • If I use a copy machine to get a copy of a copy of a copy of a document, and the image starts loosing quality and is difficult to read.
  • my memories about a certain event could also be described as borrosos if I can't remember well (too long ago or too much alcohol)

On the other hand

  • My car's windshield gets empañado in the morning, due to mist, drew and cold (actually, nothing to do with an image here, just the state of a thing)
  • my glasses get empañadas when it is too cold outside and I get in a warm place (and my glasses being empañadas might make me see everything borroso)

"Borroso" is a perception. "Empañado" is a state of the thing.

  • 2
    Welcome to the stack. Sometimes a short answer is enough but to clarify your answer it would've been better if you gave the definitions and if necessary mention your sources.
    – DGaleano
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 13:53

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