phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: The v sign / two fingers

Posted by Lotg on July 07, 2003

In Reply to: Re: The v sign / two fingers posted by Gary on July 04, 2003

: : Sorry - all the explanations about english archers at Agincourt etc. being threatened with loss of fingers are most probably a myth see http://www.snopes.com/language/apocryph/pluckyew.htm

: In the UK it is widely believed that the battle of Agincourt was origin of the 'two fingers' salute. Most folk beliefs of this sort turn out to be unsupported by hard evidence and rely on retrospectively fitting the facts to a neat story. We've seen enough of these here to be suspicious - POSH, Scot Free etc. The web site referenced above offers opinion rather than fact, so doesn't prove anything either way.

: I would like to believe this one. I've seen references claiming that Henry V's speech before the battle (the real one not Shakespeare's version), referred to the threat to the archers from the French. If anyone can turn up any real historical material on this I'd love to see it. Like we always have to say here though - evidence not opinion.

:: Bit of a cultural thing here. This may be a Victory sign in some cultures, but if you turn your hand over, with your back of your hand pointing to the ground, and use the V sign, raising your fingers, in Australia, it's actually rude. Basically means something to the effect of 'up yours'. The single second finger means pretty much the same thing. Maybe there's a subtle difference of which I'm not sure. But this sign isn't considered subtle in the first place. Often used during fits of road rage, to indicate your displeasure at something the other driver has done to you as well as a whole host of other circumstances.

A visiting American president used the sign unwittingly, intending to convey a Victorious sentiment, however, the Australian public laughed, some (who obviously take themselves far too seriously and ought not), were even outraged, as in this country it is an insulting gesture.