THE FINGER: NOT A NEW YORK ORIGINAL
New Yorkers love to give the finger; especially drivers on its roadways. If while driving, you swerve sharply to avoid hitting someone suddenly stopping in front of you; you can expect the person driving in the other lane (the one you swerved in front of), to give you the finger (the middle-finger to be exact). If you are in the subway jostling for position on a crowded train-platform, don’t expect that when you accidentally bump someone, you will not get yourself “a finger”. I can list many more ways you can earn “the finger” in this half-naked city, since the middle-finger has become as synonymous with New York, as “start spreading the news”: which is the opening line to the hit-song “New York, New York”.
In New York, giving the finger to the wrong person can get your ass killed: so be forewarned that it isn’t the best way to respond to some negative situation. There are lots of ignorant fools walking around with guns and other weapons in New York: be aware.
Always try to be good folks; but if you cannot be good, then be very careful at all times. The middle finger may be a quick response mechanism to something you didn’t like, but it isn’t uniquely a New York thing. Here is a little history of “the middle-finger”: I hope you enjoy and find it as fascinating as I did. Etymology is nothing to frown upon.
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 almost impossible to draw the renowned English longbow, and therefore they would be individually handicapped (severely)from fighting as archers, in the future. Word of the French plans got out to the Englishmen. Instead of it being a depressant, it became a motivational tool.
Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset at Agincourt. The Englishmen then began mocking the fleeing French soldiers by waving their middle fingers at them, saying:”see; we can still pluck yew”.
The famous English longbow was made out of the native Yew tree; and the act of drawing the longbow was known as 'plucking the yew' (or 'pluck yew'). The long-bow became a formidable weapon in the English arsenal. Back in the day, it helped them win many a war against formidable odds and enemies.
Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually given way to the labiodentals-fricative ‘F’ (not “V”). Thus “pluck” later became “fuck”.
The ‘yew’ was later changed to ‘you’ to denote the second-person (plural) pronoun. Now remember your early English grammar studies as a kid. The first person (singular) is the person speaking (“I”/subject; or “me”/object ). The second person is the person being spoken to (you). The third person is the person being spoken about (he/she/it). These are all personal pronouns.
This is how we got the phrase “fuck you” in contemporary English lexicon. Today we use it sometimes in conjunction with the “middle-finger”. It is also called “the one-finger-salute”.
It was also because of the pheasant feathers placed on the arrows -used with the longbow- that the symbolic gesture was once known as 'giving the bird.'
Stay tuned-in folks: be careful using the finger though/lol.
Post new comment