[email protected]#$ YOU !! A very normal word for every teenager nowadays. Raising the middle finger is the hand gesture designed and universally acclaimed for throwing the ‘F’ word off on somebody like a nuclear bomb. It is quite offensive when said angrily, although it has the capability to reflect the speaker’s feeling very profoundly.

So, how did it all start?

It’s origin is credited to the Pagan Roman empire.

In the book, Gestures: Their Origins and Distribution, Desmond Morris and colleagues note that the word digitus infamis or digitus impudicus (infamous or indecent finger) is mentioned several times in the literature of ancient Rome. For example, the epigrammatist Martial: “Laugh loudly, Sextillus, when someone calls you a queen and put your middle finger out.”

Now, for it’s fancied popularity; how did this gesture get associated with the word?

It is related with a war from the history of France and England.

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, which was made of the native English yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as “plucking the yew.”

To the astonishment of the French, the English won the war and began to mock the French by waving their middle finger at them implying, “We can still pluck yew.”

Since “pluck yew” is rather difficult to say, like “pheasant mother plucker,” which is who you had to go to for the feathers used on the arrows for the longbow, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning gradually changed to a labiodental fricative “f,” like the Spanish people speak spanish with a lisp, and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger salute are “[email protected]#$ YOU”

Great Story.

So the moral of the story is never use the middle finger against a French otherwise he will cut it off…… 😀

Courtesy : straightdope

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