Who stands bail for someone is being teased by the devil.

Who stands bail for someone is being teased by the devil.

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, M.A.R., choster, Nathan Tuggy, Em. May 3 '17 at 19:04

  • This question does not appear to be about learning the English language within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Seems to be a German proverb: special-dictionary.com/proverbs/source/g/german_proverb/… – Cardinal May 3 '17 at 16:53
  • It doesn't really "mean" anything, since this is not a recognised "saying" for Anglophones (is it German, or Spanish?). But certainly teased is a hopelessly inappropriate translation of whatever the original was. – FumbleFingers May 3 '17 at 16:53
  • 5
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's asking the meaning of a poor translation. – FumbleFingers May 3 '17 at 16:56
  • @FumbleFingers Teased is probably tempted. – StoneyB May 3 '17 at 17:20
  • @StoneyB: I don't see how metaphoric "standing bail" would work with that. Perhaps there's a German word that could be variously translated as vexed / inconvenienced / troubled / teased or prosecuted (in the capacity of a prosecuting attorney). But I think it's still an Off Topic translation request, even if OP is unaware of where the text came from. – FumbleFingers May 3 '17 at 17:26

As pointed out in the comments, this is probably a bad translation from German. I suspect that bail means something like surety—probably with respect to things like co-signing loan—and teased represents tempted.

The syntax is another matter. This is a now obsolete usage of who where we would now use whoever; compare Iago's line in Othello, "Who steals my purse steals trash", meaning Whoever steals my purse will find there's nothing in it.

You may paraphrase the proverb:

Whoever co-signs for someone else is being tempted by the devil

  • I still don't see how attempting to correct a bad translation when we don't even know for certain what the original meant could be On Topic here. But if it was, I think it would be better to "paraphrase" with something that might in principle be said by an Anglophone today in a non-translation context (or at least, without the "mock-medieval proverb" phrasing style). Maybe You shouldn't tempt fate by standing guarantor for someone else. – FumbleFingers May 4 '17 at 12:06

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.