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Putting two fingers up (For brits)

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by lampiao, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. lampiao Senior Member

    Lisbon
    Portugal/Portuguese
    I understand that in the UK putting the index finger up along with its neighbour (I don't know how you call it) is offensive.

    I was wondering what's the origin of that, and hoping someone could confirm the story below.
    I've been told that this is offensive because the english used to cut off these two fingers from french archers, and then show them their own, making fun of them.

    Is that true? If not, does anyone know the real origin?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mei

    Mei Senior Member

    Where streets have no name...
    Catalonia Catalan & Spanish
    Hi,

    Well I heard the same history. It's like "I still have my two fingers" he he

    Mei
     
  3. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod

    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    Chatting: funny because not long ago a Spanish girl put up 2 fingers at me, just because she didn't know what it meant here and she only wanted to tell me 2.
    So, is it only used in the UK?
     
  4. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
  5. Mei

    Mei Senior Member

    Where streets have no name...
    Catalonia Catalan & Spanish
    Here is used too but not by everybody... I've seen people doing it.

    Mei
     
  6. Laia

    Laia Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish
    I think it's only used with offensive meaning in the UK. But I might be wrong.
    In Spain it means "two" or "victory/I win"
     
  7. Mei

    Mei Senior Member

    Where streets have no name...
    Catalonia Catalan & Spanish
    jeje I saw it with the English meaning... that look in their eyes and that smile in their faces gave them away. (ui, is this correct? :confused: )

    Mei
     
  8. Laia

    Laia Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish
    Sorry Mei, I don't understand you...:eek:
    You saw it with the British meaning in Spain? :confused:
     
  9. Mei

    Mei Senior Member

    Where streets have no name...
    Catalonia Catalan & Spanish
    Yes, my brother do it, and some friends too and they didn't win nothing they where saying "fota't"... it's the meaning that I understand... :eek:

    Of course they saw it in a movie or something!

    Mei
     
  10. Laia

    Laia Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish
    Wow... a bit freaky... ;) :D
     
  11. lampiao Senior Member

    Lisbon
    Portugal/Portuguese
    Thanks a lot Benjy!

    And to sum up and clear some doubts, here's the bit of the article that matters for this question:
    «... The gesture dates back to English archers at Agincourt in 1415, who stuck up two fingers in defiance of the French threat to cut off their fingers if captured...»
     
  12. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod

    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    And we innocent French people still think that it just means 'victory'. :rolleyes: :)
    What would England be without the French touch? :p
     
  13. eironi Junior Member

    English / GB
    Wow, that's really interesting, I had no idea it originated from that.
    I've always thought it's quite funny that a V-sign with the palm of the hand facing forward means "peace", but switch your hand the other way round and it suddenly changes to a swift "f*ck off"...how convenient! :p
    In recent years, I think the middle-finger salute has become much more popular here (another American import), but maybe we should start a national campaign to keep the two-fingered version alive, seeing as it's been around for nearly 600 years! ...What do you think, Tony?
     

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  14. whatonearth Senior Member

    UK, English
    No, it does mean victory here in the UK as well but only when you have your palm facing away from you when you put up your middle and index fingers. If you do it the other way round (i.e. with your palm facing towards yourself) then it becomes a very offensive gesture (as is sticking up only your middle finger in this way, or curling your fingers up, palm up, and shaking it from side to side)
     
  15. rat boy New Member

    Dorset
    English, England
    I understood that it originated from the british archers showing the French that they still have the two fingers and can still fire arrows and maybe this was why the French cut those fingers off in the first place so that if they escape they can't use their bows anymore. So it is like saying "You haven't cut my fingers off and so I can still fire arrows at you" used as a warning or a sign of power.
    Just linking ideas correct me if I am wrong but this sounds feasible.
    (in case you log back on)
     
  16. lampiao Senior Member

    Lisbon
    Portugal/Portuguese
    Thanks rat boy, and welcome!
    In time you'll discover that it is hard to log off :p
     
  17. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Snopes claims that's an urban myth :)warn: warning: some foul words), although I have to say I don't find their arguments entirely convincing.
     
  18. Mayagirl

    Mayagirl New Member

    U.S.
    America/English
    I didn't know that was offensive to brits :eek: ...thanks for the warning! :D I only know about the American (just middle finger) version. Did this come from the British version? How did it change to just one finger?
    That's a cool story about the french...makes history interesting. :)
     

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