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?
6"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.– ChepechMar 23, 2012 at 18:36
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