I’m trying to figure out the best word in Spanish to translate the English word ravished as it’s used in the following context:

There, before my ravished eye, a Cube, moving in some altogether new direction, but strictly according to Analogy, so as to make every particle of his interior pass through a new kind of Space with a wake of its own — shall create a still more perfect perfection than himself, with sixteen terminal Extra-solid angles, and Eight solid Cubes for his Perimeter.

Flatland: A Romance Of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbot. Page 89, first paragraph.

Generally it is not difficult to determine using DeepL or Google Translator, but this time this particular word throws up meanings that are almost opposite of each other, it could mean “raped” — violado, ultrajado — or “spellbound” — embelesado, extasiado. Which sense fits better in this sentence?

I was about to translate it to:

Allí, ante mi ojo arrebatado, un Cubo, ...

But in Spanish this sounds weird, so I need a second point of view. How can I translate this English sentence into Spanish that sounds natural while keeping the original author’s meaning intact?

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    It's odd, but more like horrorizado -- horrified or shocked. No, not raped, more like overcome with shock.
    – Yosef Baskin
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 1:43
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    Se me ocurre que habrá unas cuantas posibilidades aquí, pero te aseguro que recibirías mejores respuestas a tu pregunta a nuestro sitio hermana, Spanish Language. Dame un momento para arreglar todo eso.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 1:46
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    @YosefBaskin You really nail it. I never thought that way, but henceforth I'll consider that criterion when choosing a particular word in a translation. Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 2:40
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    Yes, start with the meaning of transfixed, fascinated, mesmerized, hypnotized, locked. Then use a similar startling word en Espanol. A translation is an interpretation, not a twin, and she can be either faithful or beautiful. I like beautiful, because that is what your reader will read. Can you imagine the reader who says "This Spanish is ugly, but it's so true to the original"? No. Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 2:44
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    Don't use Google or that deep thing. They are all misleading unless you already know the terms. Aqui en la frase, se trata de un placer en relación a la vista.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 15:42

4 Answers 4


Try using real dictionaries like the Larousse English<>Spanish ones. This one is free and online. There are others, too.
It says, for ravish: embelesado.

Larousse Spanish <>English Here the man seems to be taking pleasure in the situation.

  1. First, determine what the English means. Only the archaic meaning is "raped" and here, that would make little sense.

Merriam Webster:

Definition of ravish transitive verb

1a: to seize and take away by violence [not relevant]
b: to overcome with emotion (such as joy or delight) [relevant for an eye] ravished by the scenic beauty
c: RAPE entry 1 sense 1

  1. It is very likely here to mean: embelezado (RAE: arrebetar o cautivar los sentidos) or simply encantar.

ravish in Merriam Webster

When translating literature, never just use a bilingual dictionary. Look up the word in a source language monolingual dictionary first.

  • 5
    "Only the archaic meaning is "raped"" The use of "ravished" to mean "raped" isn't archaic at all; it's pretty commonly used in erotic fiction, for instance, where it'd often have a connotation like "raped/physically forced to have sex, but she enjoyed it because she secretly wanted it".
    – nick012000
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 17:01
  • @nick012000 "He ravished her", does not mean she wanted it. I doubt, even in erotic fiction, that a woman would say that. That might be an imputation by an author. In any case, it is irrelevant here.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 17:05
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    "Bodice-ripper" stories about sexy men ravishing the novel's heroine are the most popular genre of erotic fiction, bar none. 50 Shades of Gray was a best-seller for a reason. Obviously, real rape is bad, but pretend fantasy rape is different.
    – nick012000
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 17:07
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_fantasy ravishment is not literal rape anymore.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 17:09
  • I suppose that depends on how you define "literal rape", but sure.
    – nick012000
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 17:13

There are probably many translations which would fit the meaning here which is that the author's eye had been delighted by the sight.

I would suggest cautivado from cautivar for which the third definition in the entry linked to above is

  1. tr. Ejercer irresistible influencia en el ánimo de alguien por medio de atractivo físico o moral.
  • se trata de un ojo, una mirada....no me gusta mucha ojo cautivado.....
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 18:42

The meaning of the English word ravish in this context is something like enrapture — to fill with delight. I can't say if the Google translation to extasiar is accurate, but it might provide a starting point.

  • 1
    Perhaps "embelesado".
    – nopaltepec
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 12:09

It’s an old book, so an obvious trick is to check existing translations:

Allí, ante mi ojo deslumbrado, un cubo, moviéndose en una dirección completamente nueva, pero rigurosamente de acuerdo con la analogía, de manera que haga que cada partícula de su interior pase a través de un nuevo género de espacio, con una estela propia, creará una perfección aún más perfecta que él mismo, con dieciséis ángulos extrasólidos terminales, y ocho cubos sólidos por perímetro.

Version by José Manuel Álvarez Flórez, Ed. Torre de Viento.

  • Well, deslumbrado, maybe.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 16:45
  • There are many good options in the answers, but Merriam Webster's example "ravished by the scenic beauty", commented elsewhere, corresponds very well to the common phrase "deslumbrado por la belleza del paisaje". And nothing can be more deslumbrado than an eye.
    – aerobiomat
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 10:25

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