Thursday, February 02, 2006

History of the Middle Finger...

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

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



,/_ /

/ /

/'_'/' '/'__'/','/'

/ '/ / / / / _

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' /


Giving the Finger

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 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!"


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 everything.