The History of the Middle Finger.

August 12, 2008 1:30am CST
The History of the Middle Finger Well,'s something I never knew before. 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 enlightened. 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.' And yew thought yew knew every plucking thing!!
1 person likes this
3 responses
@urbandekay (18312)
12 Aug 08
This is a mix of fact and fiction. It was the practice of the French to cut off the first two fingers, index and middle finger of an English (Welsh) bowmen. The French had slow, cumbersome cross bows but lacked the superior long bow. A Skilled longbowman could have 3 arrows in the air whilst a cross bowman was loading. At the battle of Agincourt the Flower of French nobility were cut down by the English peasant archers who made not the middle finger sign but the 'V' sign. This is the first two fingers in a V back of the hand towards the recipient. The 'pluck yew' bit is fiction. The 'V' sign in UK has a similar function to the middle finger sign in US all the best urban
• India
12 Aug 08
Thank you for a very enlightening discussion. You are probably right. Have a nice day.
• United States
12 Aug 08
Ketybhagat, In the last few months, Myklj999 had already done this discussion. It is against mylot guidelines to start a discussion that is the same as another member's previously started discussion. As far as I can tell, your discussion here is, it is word for word of what his discussion is. Please review MyLot's guidelines about discussions.
• India
12 Aug 08
The best part of mylottiing is not knowing somebody has written about it until it gets posted. We write and post. It is only then when it gets segregated that one realises that it has been written about. There was no intent to copy, it was just discussed. I know of the guidelines, but there is no search engine where we can see what is written about this topic before us. Have a good day.
@secretbear (19466)
• Philippines
4 Oct 08
that was a good trivia kety! that was really a fun thing to know. really interesting piece of history about the middle finger. i was surprised to know it had a history like that! and it even has to do with soldiers and wars and all that. wow. its kinda like degrading the honor of the English soldiers. really interesting bits of history kety.