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グレーかもしれないけど、ギリギリセーフとか思ってんじゃないか?

This line was spoken in a video. Here's added sentences for context.

Detective: テレビ番組を勝手にアップロードしちゃダメだよな。 お前そんなのも知らなかったんか? グレーかもしれないけど、ギリギリセーフとか思ってんじゃないか? 本当に違法なんだぞお前。

This has my brain twisted since グレーかもしれない means something about it being a grey area, and けど is an adverb meaning but; however.

I think the idea of the sentence might be that : Uploading falls in a grey area, so you thought it was safe.

Even if I tried translating this sentence 20 different ways, I wouldn't know which one to pick since they all have different nuances.

Since it might fall into a grey area, you thought you were playing it safe, huh?

Even though it falls in a grey area, you thought it'd be like playing it safe, didn't you?

Even though it falls in a grey area, you thought you'd be playing it safe, didn't you?

It could be a grey area, you thought you could play it safe, huh?

It could fall into a grey area, you thought it would be playing it safe, right?

It may be gray area, but you thought it was just barely safe.

It might be a grey area, you thought you were playing it safe, huh?

It's probably a grey area, you thought you were playing it safe, huh?

It probably falls in a grey area, you thought you were playing it safe, huh?

It might fall into a grey area, you thought you were playing it safe, huh?

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    Did you consider the possibility that グレーかもしれないけど might be part of what the detective suspected the suspect thought?
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Nov 9, 2021 at 1:01
  • @aguijonazo Thank you very much for your reply. It sounds similar to the replies I received elsewhere: "It's kind of iffy, but no one's gonna catch me," right?" & "Are you thinking it is legally gray, but it's just barely safe, aren't you?" As always, I hope this question can be used as a reference for future language students, and all my posts are always open-ended, and future input/debate is encouraged. But I feel this question has been more than answered well enough.
    – SomaRise
    Commented Nov 9, 2021 at 1:51

1 Answer 1

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I'm afraid to say none of those 10 attempts are spot-on.

  • "グレーかもしれないけど、ギリギリセーフ(だ)" as a whole is the quoted sentence corresponding to 思う. Let's not be deceived by the comma.
  • セーフ in a context like this means "barely safe/acceptable" rather than "(perfectly) safe". ギリギリ intensifies this meaning. I suppose this is related to the fact that safe was initially introduced to Japanese as a baseball term. "セーフ!" on its own can mean "That was close!" See: 「ギリギリセーフ!」と英語でどういうの?

You thought "(Legally speaking) it may fall in a grey area, but (practically speaking) I'd be barely safe", didn't you?

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