scream jailbait

Garin

Senior Member
Czech - Czechia
Hello, everyone!
In a novelization of "The Dark Knight Rises" there is a description of a young girl looking "like she belonged in high school" who enters a seedy bar:
A halter-top and miniskirt practically screamed jailbait.
Basically, if I imagine the situation - seeing a lovely girl and literally hearing someone scream: "Jailbait!" - this is what I would call a warning but from the context it feels more like she was so attractive you would want her no matter what it takes, even a jailtime. How would a native speaker understand it?
 
  • teksch

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Hello, everyone!
    In a novelization of "The Dark Knight Rises" there is a description of a young girl looking "like she belonged in high school" who enters a seedy bar:
    A halter-top and miniskirt practically screamed jailbait.
    Basically, if I imagine the situation - seeing a lovely girl and literally hearing someone scream: "Jailbait!" - this is what I would call a warning but from the context it feels more like she was so attractive you would want her no matter what it takes, even a jailtime. How would a native speaker understand it?
    Well...no one is actually screaming. The fact that she was young indicated that any man having sex with her would go to jail. In the US, depending on the state one is in, even consensual sex is a crime if one of the people involved is under a certain age.
     

    JuanEscritor

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    Jailbait is a term used to describe an attractive girl who is under the legal age of consent. To say that her outfit screamed jailbait is to figuratively say that her outfit makes her extremely attractive, and since she looks young, jailbait is a term we can use to describe such a girl in such a situation.

    In other words, your intuitions are correct. :thumbsup:
     

    Garin

    Senior Member
    Czech - Czechia
    Thank you, teksch and JuanEscritor. Now I "just" need to translate it into Czech where we have no such word as "jailbait", and where you go to high school at the age of 15 which is, by the way, the legal age for having sex, as well. You can not help but love this job ;)
     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Thank you, teksch and JuanEscritor. Now I "just" need to translate it into Czech where we have no such word as "jailbait", and where you go to high school at the age of 15 which is, by the way, the legal age for having sex, as well. You can not help but love this job ;)
    If 15 is "age of consent" then you have to think of a way to describe a 13 or 14 year old dressed to tempt males.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    "scream" is used to describe something that is highly obvious to the on-looker, not in the literal sense of actually screaming out loud. You could say "her manicure, well-coiffed hair and strand of pearls practically screamed affluent"
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    ...
    A halter-top and miniskirt practically screamed jailbait.
    Basically, if I imagine the situation - seeing a lovely girl and literally hearing someone scream: "Jailbait!" - this is what I would call a warning but from the context it feels more like she was so attractive you would want her no matter what it takes, even a jailtime. How would a native speaker understand it?
    1. Do not confuse 'literally' and 'practically'. Practically in this context means 'almost'.

    2. You cannot derive the idea that 'someone' screams "Jailbait!" from this because the subject of the verb 'scream' is not a person, it is 'A halter-top and miniskirt'. An item of clothing cannot literally scream words so we know this must be a metaphor.

    The meaning is that the girl's 'sexy' way of dressing together with her youth and the fact that she has entered a seedy bar will cause certain people to think the word 'jailbait'.
     
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    Garin

    Senior Member
    Czech - Czechia
    Thank you, pwmeek, kalamazoo and Biffo, now I think I have an idea which way to go with my translation.
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    I think there's also an implicit warning in that sentence. She is dressed to look attractive or even seductive, but she also looks too young to be in the situation she's in - young enough that the surrounding males should be wary, though there's no guarantee that they will be.
     
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