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Author Topic: The History of the Middle Finger  (Read 859 times)

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Offline Belladonna1Topic starter

The History of the Middle Finger
« on: February 04, 2009, 01:05:14 AM »
I had, actually, heard this before but thought I'd share for those who haven't-  :)

The History of the Middle Finger

Well, now......here's something I never knew before, and now that I know it, I feel compelled to send it on to my more intelligent friends in the hope that they, too, will feel edified.

History is just more fun when you know something about it.

Before the Battle of Agincourt (pronounced a zhin kuhr) in 1415, the French,
anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger
of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be
impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would
be incapable of fighting in the future.
This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew" (or "pluck yew").

Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset
and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated
French, saying, See, we can still pluck yew! Since 'pluck yew' is rather
difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodental fricative F', and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute! It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as "giving the bird."

And yew thought yew knew every plucking thing....

 :)

 
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Offline The Overlord

Re: The History of the Middle Finger
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2009, 01:26:00 AM »

Actually it was the first two fingers, the middle finger alone wasn't drawing the bow.

This has dual meaning in the UK. With the palm forward and the fingers in a V, giving the victory sign that Winston Churchill made famous in the war era.

Turn the back of your hand to them with two fingers raised, and it's as rude as one finger in the States.

Offline Belladonna1Topic starter

Re: The History of the Middle Finger
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2009, 01:41:02 AM »
Interesting!   I'd never heard that before!  :)

Offline The Overlord

Re: The History of the Middle Finger
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2009, 01:51:04 AM »

Yeah the first two fingers were needed for drawing back a bow, it's funny all the different uses that have come up in countries.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_sign_as_an_insult#V_sign_as_an_insult

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Re: The History of the Middle Finger
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2009, 08:05:25 AM »
That reminds me of a funny incident that happened when I was in college.  I'd taken a Welsh class, and for May term, we actually went over to Wales for a month (I adore the UK, and Wales in particular.)  So there we were, a gaggle of mostly under 16 girls (accelerated students, I was a little older), a couple 'adult learners, and two faculty member chaperones.

We spent one memorable day at the College of Lampeter (Llanbedr Pont Steffan), overnighting at a bed and breakfast.  In the morning, one of the faculty chaperones was ordering breakfast - two poached eggs - with the infamous hand gesture.  The young man waiting on us calmly and politely explained to the 'dumb American' that this 'wasn't very nice', much to her mortification, and the amusement of all of us students.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: The History of the Middle Finger
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2009, 05:15:33 PM »
Turn the back of your hand to them with two fingers raised, and it's as rude as one finger in the States.

Not quite as rude. Think of it as The Finger-lite :)

Offline Andy

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Re: The History of the Middle Finger
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2009, 05:27:29 PM »


He tried to do it right ^^'

I suppose <.<
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 05:32:31 PM by Andy »

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Re: The History of the Middle Finger
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2009, 06:36:52 PM »
It's an insult because it's a crude representation of the male genitalia. :|
 

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Re: The History of the Middle Finger
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2009, 08:54:19 PM »
Speaking of dubious hand gestures - the famous 'rabbit ears' gesture that people do in photos derives from something more like the 'Texas Longhorns' hand sign which was used in Italy to denote a man who had been cuckolded.  Also under medieval insults is putting the thumb between the middle and ring fingers, called 'throwing figs' (somehow supposed to represent the female genitalia, but I guess if the middle finger can be a penis...)

Offline Inkidu

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Re: The History of the Middle Finger
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2009, 09:33:39 PM »
Thumb between two fingers. Well the thumb at the top would be the clitoris, and then the two fingers would represent well you know the sides, so that's how it would be symbolic I mean this ^ used to be phallic, and V used to be the inverse.