untidy, messy, shaggy?

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by calumh, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. calumh Member

    Chile, Español
    Hi! I need to translate desordenado and desastrado into English. The context is describing personality traits. I've looked them up in the dictionary and I've found three possibilities. The problem is that I can't see the difference between: untidy, messy, shaggy
  2. twen Senior Member

    U.S.A. - English
    disorganized = desordenado
    shaggy = needs a haircut!
    messy = untidy = falta de orden, pero no muy grave

    Desconozco la palabra "desastrado" -- ¿viene de desastre?

  3. Lagartija

    Lagartija Senior Member

    Western Massachusetts
    English, USA
    Shaggy isn't a personality trait (at least in AmE). It is a description of someone's appearance. But you can look messy or untidy or shaggy. You might describe someone as a messy person and mean that they allow their surroundings to be cluttered and don't put things away.
    So there is a nuance here when describing appearance and personal habits having to do with one's surroundings.
    Untidy is not often used in American English, but would be understood to be the same as messy.

    "My brother is a messy person, I always have to clean up the kitchen after he has eaten lunch. He leaves wrappers and dirty dishes everywhere!

    "My uncle looks messy, his shirts have food stains down the front and his pants have holes in the knees."

    "My uncle is shaggy, he hasn't had a haircut in six months and did not shave this morning."
  4. unaivicente Member

    Spain, spanish
    I like scruffy too which would mean the same as untidy and it is ok if you mean something close to "desaliñado" as a personality trait. Shaggy has more to say about a not very hygienic person, more to see with the esthetics and I would not use it in this context. Messy could fit perfect on the translation of the word "desordenado".
  5. calumh Member

    Chile, Español
    Thanks you all. I can see the difference now.
    Ah! And desastrado is scruffy.

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