History Lesson.

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Becca, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. Becca

    Becca Member

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    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. Isn't history more fun when you know something about it?

    Before the Battle of Agincourt 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 labiodentals 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."

    IT IS STILL AN APPROPRIATE SALUTE TO THE FRENCH TODAY!

    **OP note..I thought that was part of the reason for the "V's"**
     
  2. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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  3. Hobilar

    Hobilar Member

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    Imported Spanish Yew was actually considered superior to English Yew by Medieval Bowyers.
     
  4. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi again,

    The Online Etymology Dictionary suggest an older genesis of the term "****", with the first traces found actually in Scotland:

    Online Etymology Dictionary

    (If that link gets disabled by the forum engine, try Online Etymology Dictionary instead and enter the search word manually.)

    The equivalent and possibly related German "ficken" is dated to the 11th century by Kluge's, though the dictionary points out that due to the "taboo" nature of the word, it's unlikely that enough evidence can be found to uncover the origin and relations reliably.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  5. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    actually Oregon Yew wood is superior to all besides in the useage of cancer ridding chemicals ....thank God ! I feel like **** due to the latter today.........a slow weekend for me.

    thanks gal for the heads up on the finger
     
  6. Becca

    Becca Member

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    Put your feet up, Erich. We'd bring by some Gumbo to make you feel better, if we could!
     
  7. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    I think some hot red wine and my babe' sittin in the hot tub is what I need .......... NOW, man I feel like ****

    thanks for the offer and tell yer man to check that model Fw 190A-8 thread out if you would please, am hopeful this is what he wanted

    E ♫ knac.com
     
  8. Becca

    Becca Member

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    right ON! Get to IT!
     
  9. merlin

    merlin Member

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    Sorry disagree in Britain we do not give a 'finger', though the practise has spread here.
    What we do is the two-fingered gesture - yes it is anti-French, in that it is saying - 'I've got two fingers, and that's all I need - to sort you out'.
    It is used as visual sign of f*** off!
    Churchill you may have seen used a 'two-fingered' gesture - indicating 'V' for victory, but his was with palm facing outwards. Whereas f*** off V is with palm inwards and made in the style of an uppercut.
     
  10. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    Perhaps at this point it would be appropriate to say that on the other side of the Channel, the French also developed their own "signature" to antagonize their English foes. This is what they call the "Bras d'Honneur". Basically, placing the left hand on your right arm between the shoulder and elbow, then raising the right fist. Translated literally, it means the "Honor Arm" in the derogatory sense. I can't think of a term that would equate with this in English, though I think a close equivalent could be "giving the shaft".

    According to popular French folklore, this also dates back to the (surprise, surprise!) Hundred Years War. Legend has it that English knights would cut off the right arm of French prisoners (or the left arm) as to deny them the use of the sword. Later, it is said that French troops would often flash the Bras d'Honneur (or the Shaft) to the English before a battle to show that they still had their sword arm and were ready for a fight. It certainly has it's anti-British meaning even today, but modern days it can be used against anyone you dislike, just like the middle finger.

    Interesting enough, there is something about the bow fingers that some say was intentionally stamped onto an iconic French product. A popular folder knife, Opinel, features a crowned hand logo on the blade, with the hand extending the index and middle fingers. Though nowadays the company no longer officially says so, a lot of the old timers like to say that the logo signifies the duty of the French soldiers to cut off the bow fingers of British prisoners as their duty to the king. Today, current company line is that the logo is said to represent the fingers of St. John the Baptist, which were brought to France as Holy relics during one of the crusades.

    So there you have it, after all these many years, two people can still re-enact the Hundred Years War by giving eachother the finger or the shaft.
     
  11. lastwarrior

    lastwarrior Member

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    I didn't know that. Thanks :D
     
  12. Screaming Eagle

    Screaming Eagle Active Member

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    I got told the same story but instead of the middle finger it would be the 'forks'
     
  13. Becca

    Becca Member

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    originally I had heard the story about the English "V"'s..showing the French that they still had their bowing fingers, etc...HELL if I know..i'm Irish. :p
     
  14. Screaming Eagle

    Screaming Eagle Active Member

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    I think I am from irish descent. anyone know any good websites for finding this stuff out please?
     
  15. merlin

    merlin Member

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    You don't need a 'website'. But you do need to be BRITISH.
    It is only some of the younger generation corrupted by foreign films who use the 'middle finger' as a form of silent abuse.
    Everybody else uses TWO-FINGERS - its a'V' sign.
    If an irate motorist gives me a 'middle finger' I assume he/she is a foreigner.

    Isn't its use primarily from Latin countries? Is it a homo-phobic gesture? As in sit on this?
     
  16. Becca

    Becca Member

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    Perch and twirl?? hmm..dunno. You might want to check out some geneology sites, S.Eagle. I'm Irish, too. I had an Aunt do all of our background. Its hard work..you do have to have dates and places, etc. Good Luck on it.
     
  17. Screaming Eagle

    Screaming Eagle Active Member

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    thanks becca, I heard mum saying that we have are irish but it would still be good to check it out for sure.
     
  18. Screaming Eagle

    Screaming Eagle Active Member

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    well I did a quick search and it turns out I have also got some scot in me.
     
  19. Jank

    Jank Member

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    Urban Legends Reference Pages: Pluck Yew

    Claim: The 'middle finger salute' is derived from the defiant gestures of English archers whose fingers had been severed by the French at the Battle of Agincourt.

    Status: False.
     
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