Not sure if this is true but it sounds good.... >The History of the Middle Finger > >Well, now......here's something I never knew before, and now that I know >it, I feel compelled to send it on to my more intelligent friends in the >hope that they, too, will feel edified. Isn't history more fun when you >know something about it? > >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." > >IT IS STILL AN APPROPRIATE SALUTE >TO THE FRENCH TODAY!