Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo

OT- Giving the Middle Finger


Recommended Posts

A History of Giving the Finger

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory


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 be incapable of fighting in the

future. This famous weapon 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! PLUCK YEW!"

Over the years some 'folk etymologies' have grown up around this symbolic

gesture. Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say (like "pleasant mother

pheasant plucker," which is who you had to go to for the feathers used on


arrows for the longbow), the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning


gradually changed to a labiodental fricative 'F', and thus the words often

used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute are mistakenly thought to


something to do with an intimate encounter. It is also because of the

pheasant feathers on the arrows that the

symbolic gesture is known as "giving the bird." And y'all thought yew knew


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...