vestir el santo

English translation: provide it with a cloak of legitimacy / dress it up / make it look good

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Spanish term or phrase:vestir el santo
English translation:provide it with a cloak of legitimacy / dress it up / make it look good
Entered by: Robert Forstag

15:21 Feb 10, 2016
Spanish to English translations [PRO]
Journalism / web report re the Nóos Case (Spain)
Spanish term or phrase: vestir el santo
The following is an extract from an article posted today on www.madridpress.com regarding the Nóos Case:

Ballester también ha afirmado durante la declaración que está llevando a cabo a preguntas del fiscal anticorrupción Pedro Horrach que era el exmandatario autonómico quien daba las "directrices" para "vestir el santo" y manipular las actas de la Fundación Illesport, uno de los órganos que contrató con el Instituto Nóos bajo el mandato del expresidente del PP.

http://madridpress.com/not/200122/ballester-atribuye-a-matas...

***
I've not come across this expression before in this particular context. The context suggests that the phrase means "provide a cloak of legitimacy."

1. Is this accurate? If not, then what would be an accurate translation?

2. Is this a fixed expression in Spanish (or in one or more variants thereof), or simply a neologism on the part of Jaume Matas, the ex-president of the Balearic Islands whom Ballester quotes in the article? I don't see anything but references to the Ballester quote or to clearly religious contexts on the first several pages of Google references for the phrase in question.
Robert Forstag
United States
Local time: 19:55
dress (it/something) up
Explanation:
"Vestir el santo/muñeco" is a Spanish expression, which means basically to adorn something dubious in order to make it appear more palatable, legal and transparent.


"En un reciente episodio de la intensa crónica judicial española nos llegan nuevas noticias del caso Nóos. El juez José Castro tuvo el acierto de utilizar una expresión que hubiera fascinado al autor del artículo del New Yorker: «vestir el santo». Algo tan frecuente que ya lo vemos como una entrañable «cottage industry» nacional. Su Señoría apuntaba lo siguiente en un auto del pasado 30 de enero, donde aceptaba la petición de fianza que había hecho la Fiscalía, con el argumento de que los convenios firmados por el Gobierno valenciano con Nóos «no fueron otra cosa que la forma arbitraria de vestir el santo, con la única finalidad, y con total abuso de poder, de beneficiar al Instituto Nóos y en este caso al más ilustre de sus miembros, al señor Urdangarin».

Desde luego, lo de vestir el santo, o vestir el muñeco, como también se dice, es una pintoresca señal de identidad en esta peculiar cleptocracia de nuestros pecados. Lo hemos visto tantas veces en nuestras zonas turísticas. Unos avispados vestían al santo para hacer caja, mientras los egregios jerarcas jaleaban al personal, embelesado por aquel cartonaje pintado con purpurina. De nuevo aquello del verso 20 del Cantar Primero de Mio Cid: «¡Dios, qué buen vassallo, si oviesse buen señor!»


http://www.attacmadrid.org/?p=7077

"Vestir el muñeco significa, en lenguaje coloquial, dar forma legal, coherente y convincente a un acuerdo o decisión tomados de forma poco transparente para presentarlo a instancias superiores o a la opinión pública y lo admitan

Muchos recordarán como el anterior alcalde de Madrid cambió el nombre de la Autovía M-30 por el de la Calle M-30. Con esa argucia pretendía engañar a la Comisión Europea que hubiese exigido un Informe de Impacto Ambiental para la construcción del soterramiento de la misma. Vestir a la M-30 con el traje de muñeca de Calle no engañó a la CE, entre otras cosas porque las calles tienen aceras y se puede andar por ellas, por las Autovías no, como pasa también en la actualidad."

http://www.laopiniondemalaga.es/opinion/2013/03/16/vestir-sa...

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Note added at 3 hrs (2016-02-10 18:32:16 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

https://goo.gl/n3ScpP
"He accused him of dressing up naked politics in a cloak of legality "
https://goo.gl/Y02BeP
"...the Germans tried to dress up what they did in a cloak of legality"
https://goo.gl/ubFjCt
"The civil service is useful only to the extent of dressing up dubious actions with a cloak of legality"
Selected response from:

Cecilia Gowar
United Kingdom
Grading comment
In the end, I went with my own initial though of "provide it with a cloak of legitimacy," but this also is a viable option (as is the simple "make it look good").

Thank you for your suggestion. Thanks also to everyone else who responded and commented, and especially to Bea and Charles.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +5dress (it/something) up
Cecilia Gowar
4take care of the details
neilmac
4hide information
Katty Ossa
4 -1Gilding the lily ; over-egging the pudding
Oliver Toogood
Summary of reference entries provided
Ref: article on 'vestir el santo'
Jane Martin

Discussion entries: 10





  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
take care of the details


Explanation:
The Noos case has 2 main figureheads - the royals. I assume the "el exmandatario autonómico" does refer to olive-tree pilfering Jaume Matas.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2016-02-10 16:53:14 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

NB: With my suggestion, I'm trying to remain objective and impartial, without implicit value judgements (which is difficult in the case in point).

neilmac
Spain
Local time: 01:55
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 20
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
Gilding the lily ; over-egging the pudding


Explanation:
Exploring Idioms: A Critical-thinking Resource for Grades 4-8

https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=1934338141
Valeri R. Helterbran - 2008 - ‎Preview
Definition: An addition or adornment to something that is already perfect; overdone. Background: Gilding the lily is a phrase taken from Shakespeare's King John (IV: ii). It reads: “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily...Is wasteful and ridiculous ...
101 THINGS YOU SAY ALL THE TIME: And Have No Idea What ...

https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=1462847552
Charles Adams - 2011 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
GILDING. THE. LILY. Definition: To apply unneeded ornamentation; to excessively embellish. Use: “There's no need to add that clause to the contract. That's just gilding the lily.” Three possible origins: (Choose one.) 1.) Yes, it's Shakespeare.

Through the Eyes of a Child - Page 101

https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=0715140884
Anne Richards, ‎Peter Privett - 2009 - ‎Preview
How can you define mystery? Words just won't do. But we are creatures of language and words are part of our meaning-making system. I'm perhaps over-egging the pudding here, but want to make these words provisional and unbinding.


Oliver Toogood
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:55
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  philgoddard: No, the idea is making something bad appear good.//Your own reference says "An addition or adornment to something that is already perfect".
18 mins
  -> Exactly; what else do think 'gilding the lily' means if not exaggerating the qualities of something?

disagree  neilmac: This is just wrong for the context. And yes, I did attempt to euphemise ironically, well spotted, sir.
22 mins
  -> Well, unless ' taking care of the details' is meant ironically, I'd say the same for your offering...
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +5
dress (it/something) up


Explanation:
"Vestir el santo/muñeco" is a Spanish expression, which means basically to adorn something dubious in order to make it appear more palatable, legal and transparent.


"En un reciente episodio de la intensa crónica judicial española nos llegan nuevas noticias del caso Nóos. El juez José Castro tuvo el acierto de utilizar una expresión que hubiera fascinado al autor del artículo del New Yorker: «vestir el santo». Algo tan frecuente que ya lo vemos como una entrañable «cottage industry» nacional. Su Señoría apuntaba lo siguiente en un auto del pasado 30 de enero, donde aceptaba la petición de fianza que había hecho la Fiscalía, con el argumento de que los convenios firmados por el Gobierno valenciano con Nóos «no fueron otra cosa que la forma arbitraria de vestir el santo, con la única finalidad, y con total abuso de poder, de beneficiar al Instituto Nóos y en este caso al más ilustre de sus miembros, al señor Urdangarin».

Desde luego, lo de vestir el santo, o vestir el muñeco, como también se dice, es una pintoresca señal de identidad en esta peculiar cleptocracia de nuestros pecados. Lo hemos visto tantas veces en nuestras zonas turísticas. Unos avispados vestían al santo para hacer caja, mientras los egregios jerarcas jaleaban al personal, embelesado por aquel cartonaje pintado con purpurina. De nuevo aquello del verso 20 del Cantar Primero de Mio Cid: «¡Dios, qué buen vassallo, si oviesse buen señor!»


http://www.attacmadrid.org/?p=7077

"Vestir el muñeco significa, en lenguaje coloquial, dar forma legal, coherente y convincente a un acuerdo o decisión tomados de forma poco transparente para presentarlo a instancias superiores o a la opinión pública y lo admitan

Muchos recordarán como el anterior alcalde de Madrid cambió el nombre de la Autovía M-30 por el de la Calle M-30. Con esa argucia pretendía engañar a la Comisión Europea que hubiese exigido un Informe de Impacto Ambiental para la construcción del soterramiento de la misma. Vestir a la M-30 con el traje de muñeca de Calle no engañó a la CE, entre otras cosas porque las calles tienen aceras y se puede andar por ellas, por las Autovías no, como pasa también en la actualidad."

http://www.laopiniondemalaga.es/opinion/2013/03/16/vestir-sa...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 hrs (2016-02-10 18:32:16 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

https://goo.gl/n3ScpP
"He accused him of dressing up naked politics in a cloak of legality "
https://goo.gl/Y02BeP
"...the Germans tried to dress up what they did in a cloak of legality"
https://goo.gl/ubFjCt
"The civil service is useful only to the extent of dressing up dubious actions with a cloak of legality"

Cecilia Gowar
United Kingdom
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 68
Grading comment
In the end, I went with my own initial though of "provide it with a cloak of legitimacy," but this also is a viable option (as is the simple "make it look good").

Thank you for your suggestion. Thanks also to everyone else who responded and commented, and especially to Bea and Charles.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  neilmac: Aunque la mona se vista de seda... (i.e. no matter how they try to tart it up, it's still embezzlement)
16 mins
  -> Thanks Neilmac!

neutral  Oliver Toogood: No, Neilmac, Aunque la mona se vista de seda... mona se queda...= ' you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear;
58 mins

agree  acetran
1 hr
  -> Thanks Acetran!

agree  philgoddard
1 hr
  -> Thanks Phil!

agree  Charles Davis
6 hrs

agree  Muriel Vasconcellos
6 hrs
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3 days 2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
hide information


Explanation:
hope it helps

Katty Ossa
Ecuador
Local time: 19:55
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
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Reference comments


25 mins peer agreement (net): +4
Reference: Ref: article on 'vestir el santo'

Reference information:
http://www.rivasactual.com/archives/11265

Jane Martin
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Note to reference poster
Asker: Thank you!


Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  Robert Carter: Great reference, Jane.
26 mins
  -> Thank you Robert.
agree  Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
45 mins
  -> Gracias :-)
agree  philgoddard: So a cloak of legitimacy, right?
50 mins
  -> I like 'under a cloak of ...'
agree  neilmac: I like Cgowar/Phil's "cloak of legitimacy"...
1 hr
  -> Thanks Neil. I too like the cloak idea.
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