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

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

  • Seems to be a German proverb: special-dictionary.com/proverbs/source/g/german_proverb/…
    – Cardinal
    May 3, 2017 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. May 3, 2017 at 16:53
  • 5
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's asking the meaning of a poor translation. May 3, 2017 at 16:56
  • @FumbleFingers Teased is probably tempted. May 3, 2017 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. May 3, 2017 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


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. May 4, 2017 at 12:06

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