What is the best Spanish translation for the English adjective "haunting" (as in "a haunting melody")? WordReference gives three options: evocador, inquietante and inolvidable. Do any of these really convey what the English word does (something enthralling, beautiful, somber/sad)? What are the differences between these three words?

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    "Evocador" pretty much covers it, to be honest I have never heard someone refer to a melody like that (I'm from Mexico), we usually talk about what the melody evokes rather than of its evocative qualities.
    – Chepech
    Mar 23, 2012 at 18:36

3 Answers 3


It would help a broader context of the sentence, but I guess "cautivadora" covers most of what "haunting" originally conveys, and it's common to hear the phrase "una melodía cautivadora" - "a haunting melody".


The most appropriate adjective is "estremecedora", because it meets all the characteristics of the adjective "haunting".

Meaning of "estremecedora": to remove (something like a tremor) something inside someone deeply. In this context "melodía estremecedora" gives way to be something beautiful, something enthralling and somber / sad.

To explain the differences in the three adjectives you mentioned:

  • Evocador: That evokes a thing of the past or remembering to another by their relation or resemblance.

  • Inquietante: lack of tranquility, discomfort (to be uncomfortable with something or someone).

  • inolvidable: something that is impossible to forget. (I think the latter has nothing to do with what you want, really)



A possible of translation is obsesionante, whose nearest English equivalent would be obsessive

  • In what sense would a melody be obsessive?
    – jrdioko
    Apr 5, 2012 at 19:44
  • @jrdioko: If a melody "bothers" you day and night, it could be "obsessive," or at least "obsesionante."
    – Tom Au
    Apr 5, 2012 at 20:22

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