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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Silly Sunday: History Lesson

The History of the Middle Finger 

English Archers
  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 English longbow 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 labiodentals 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 every plucking thing!

Here are some interesting tweets on the topic. I'll behave myself and not correct the grammar or spelling.

When i was 5, sticking my tongue out was like giving someone the middle finger.
When i'm mad at you, I text you with my middle finger.

My middle finger has too much energy, its been up allllllll day !

Keep your head up high & your middle finger higher.
My wife came in complaining that I never lift a finger around the house. So I did. The middle one.
My middle finger is my power point presentation.
 
Sometimes I gotta let my middle finger do the talking for me!!!"

11 comments:

Sandee said...

Cute.

Have a terrific Silly Sunday. :)

silverthoughts2 said...

When I was really little I overheard my Mom tell my Dad that she gave the middle finger to a guy who cut her off when she was driving. I turned to her, in all seriousness, and asked her: "Mommy, did he give you it back?"

Claudia Moser said...

A good laugh for the morning :)

Paula Martin said...

Great post, Joyce. I knew about the finger-cutting threat but hadn't heard the 'plucking yew' part of the story before!

EastCoastLife said...

OMG! I was having my curried rice while reading this and now my laptop's covered with grains of curried rice.

You are too cute! I can't bear to give you my middle finger. :P

I am having a late dinner, it's 10.57 pm in Singapore.

M. J. Joachim said...

New perspectives are a good thing. I'll probably burst out laughing every time I see this gesture again. Too funny! I'm sharing:)

Jo said...

Okay this one is getting the big SHARE on my wall. I am laughing too hard to even retell your history lesson. ♥

Amy McMunn Schindler said...

OMGosh!!! Sharing also!!!!!! Fantastic!!!

Sandra Tyler said...

lol. my favorite is when my son might use his middle finger to pick his nose.

Theresa said...

This is the funniest thing I have read all day! I love this post!

Jenn said...

A Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!! This is great!! My daughter was just learning about the 100 years war...I'll have to incorporate this as one of her "side lessons"!! (That wouldn't be too awful of me, would it??)

Cheers, Jenn.