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What does "Pick a finger"mean?

Posted by K on August 10, 2003

In Reply to: What does "Pick a finger"mean? posted by Kit on August 09, 2003

: : I am now translating an American TV drama. A doctor is criticised by his colleagues for letting his patient die right after a surgery, but he refused to admit his neglegence, holds up his left hand (all his figers except his thumb) and says, "Pick a finger." Could anyone eplain what this phrase means?
: :

: Definately implies he is giving the other doctor 'the finger', without actually doing so. It is an insult in America and in several other western cultures to point the middle finger at someone as an offensive gesture. It is also known as 'flipping the bird' or simply 'swearing'. In Britain a gesture using the first and middle finger is also offensive, dating back to the wars with France where captured French archers had their bow fingers cut off so they could no longer fire arrows. It then became a taunt to show the French these two fingers. I'm not exactly sure of this (my step father is probably more correct by saying we Brits coined the gesture after defeating the French using long bows rather than crossbows) but I hope it helps. I'm not sure when/how and why the Americans starting using one finger instead of two.