View Full Version : The History of the Middle Finger

10-17-2009, 01:41 PM
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.'

And yew thought yew knew every plucking thing

Denny Eller
10-17-2009, 05:01 PM
Stabber, I had no idea you were a historian of such great note. It is historically correct information such as yours that feeds my desire to learn yet more.

10-17-2009, 05:10 PM
Hey, Just the kinda guy I am:D

Sean Cochran
10-19-2009, 06:29 PM
Very interesting.

BTW Agincourt is also the backdrop battle for the St. Crispin's day speech in Henry V.
"...We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."


Indian George
10-20-2009, 06:07 AM
Hey!!! I heard that somw where before.:duh::D

10-26-2009, 07:41 PM
I feel like an ass for mentioning this, but Snopes has an entry about this internet *trivia*.

Good read anyway.