History of the Middle Finger Salute

Have you ever been so mad that you couldn’t simply communicate your frustration verbally. You might have saluted a person, the universe, the situation with the middle finger as a way of simply communicating your esteemed frustration.

Following a bout of frustration, yours truly received the middle finger salute and not as a communication to say that I was number 1 in their book, it was the complete opposite. It didn’t get a rise out of me, per say outside to curse them under my breath since they were clearly in the wrong, plus my youngest daughter was with me in the car. The joys of driving in Florida.

This action got me thinking where does the middle finger salute hail from – who is responsible? It is fairly ingenious that one physical signal can provide a direct meaning without any verbal activity. On my pathway to learn more oddities and factoids I learned it was the British. The British have shared the talent of The Beatles, Stephen Hawking, David Beckham and J.K. Rowling, and now the world can thank them for the middle finger salute as well.

The story goes that when the outnumbered English faced the French at the Battle of Agincourt, they were armed with a new weapon, the longbow. The French were so amused they vowed to cut off the middle finger of each British archer since this is what the archers used in handling the weapon. When the longbows won the day, the English jeered the retreating French by raising that middle finger in a gesture that still means, among other things, “in your face.”

Jennifer Lawrence stars as 'Katniss Everdeen' in THE HUNGER GAMES.

Thank you, British archers! For giving us this, meaningful symbol. I’ll try to reserve it only in the dire of circumstances if left tongue-tied or when I a symbol of what I’m saying is needed to provide a clear message.  Maybe I should take up archery as well.

Have you ever used the middle finger salute?  Or another physical symbol that strikes such a cord?  Always good idea to know where it comes from.  Hope my little post provided you with some entertainment for the day.

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