According to Word Reference, "chabacano", "hortera", "cursi" and "ramplón" are all synonyms of "tacky", "tasteless" (= in bad taste). DLE definitions also look very similar:


  1. adj. Grosero o de mal gusto.


  1. adj. despect. coloq. Vulgar y de mal gusto.


  1. adj. Vulgar, chabacano.


  1. adj. Dicho de una persona: Que pretende ser elegante y refinada sin conseguirlo.

  2. adj. Dicho de una cosa: Que, con apariencia de elegancia o delicadeza, es pretenciosa y de mal gusto.

Is there any difference in meaning or usage? Can all these words be used for people and things?

  • Probably location-dependent, in a very localized sense. I am only used to "cursi" and "hortera" with basically the same meaning.
    – wimi
    Jan 4 '20 at 11:04
  • Voting to close as too broad. If you give us a particular context then I think it would be answerable. To get you started: the only one I know (Mexico) in this group is cursi. "Tacky" is a good word for it. "Kitsch" would also work. Grosero and vulgar are stronger, I think, with vulgar the strongest, and the more formal choice. There's also feo and asqueoso (disgusting). As an exclamation: ¡Fuchi! To get a feel for usage you need to check several sources that give plenty of examples. (Chabacano I only know as the fruit. Jan 4 '20 at 16:20
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    I don't know if it's too broad, but it's certainly answerable only by a very diligent examination of a lot of localized examples. Probably not useful, too. I will only say that I disagree with the definition of cursi and I think hortera is exclusively European.
    – pablodf76
    Jan 4 '20 at 22:02
  • @pablodf76 Why do you disagree with the definition of "cursi"? What does it mean in Argentina? Jan 4 '20 at 23:33
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    @AlanEvangelista Aparte de ordinario que sería la palabra formal tenemos mañé, chirrete, valija y tal vez algunas más.
    – DGaleano
    Feb 7 '20 at 14:31

La vulgaridad y el mal gusto se manifiestan de muchas maneras.

Chabacano Es algo barato o de calidad infima, o una persona con malos modales o poca educación.

Hortera Es algo que no va a la moda o con escasa combinación de colores y estilos.

Ramplón Algo tosco, sin pulir, primitivo, basto.

Cursi Que pretende tener apariencia de refinado sin serlo.


hortera is in general, someone with bad taste, not following the tendencies. Example: 'es un hortera, está pasado de moda'.

'es un cursi por llevar tanto rosa' => too girly.

'Tiene una manera de vestir muy chabacana' => rough, countryside, looking tough not in a good way.

'es muy ramplón vistiendo' => it is too simple when dressing

  • dle.rae.es/cursi gives a different meaning of "cursi". Maybe that meaning you gave is a regionalism of the place you live? Jan 8 '20 at 11:30
  • perhaps. I used to live in central Spain
    – Iria
    Jan 8 '20 at 11:33

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