Pluck yew

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The above mentioned-quoted account purporting to give the historic origins from the obscene middle-finger extended hands gesture (varously referred to as “flipping the bird,” “flipping someone off,” or even the “one-finger salute”) is silly, and thus clearly a tale that shouldn’t need any debunking. Nevertheless, a lot of readers have forwarded it to all of us supported by an “Is this true?” query that we’re duty bound to supply a little bit of historic and linguistic information demonstrating why this anecdote couldn’t often be accurate.

The fundamental premise of this the origins from the one-finger gesture and it is connection to the profane word “fuck” were an outgrowth from the 1415 fight between French and British forces at Agincourt is straightforward enough to debunk. The insulting gesture of extending one’s middle finger (known as digitus impudicus in Latin) originated lengthy prior to the Fight of Agincourt.

And even though the actual etymology from the British word fuck continues to be dependent on debate, it’s linguistically nonsensical to keep that that word joined the word what since the “difficult consonant cluster in the beginning” from the phase ‘pluck yew’ has “gradually altered to some labiodental fricative ‘f.’” A labiodental fricative wasn’t any less “difficult” for Middle British loudspeakers to pronounce compared to aspirated bilabial stop/voiceless lateral mixture of ‘pl’ the fricative supposedly altered into, nor are there more types of this type of pronunciation shift occurring in British.

The military facets of this account are similarly specious. Despite the possible lack of movies and tv in the 15th century, the facts of medieval battles like the one at Agincourt in 1415 didn’t go unrecorded. Battles were observed and chronicled by heralds who have been present in the scene and recorded the things they saw, judged who won, and glued names for that battles. These heralds weren’t area of the participating military, but were, as military expert John Keegan describes, people of the “international corporation of pros who controlled civilized warfare.” Several heralds, both French and British, were present in the fight of Agincourt, and undertake and don’t (or any later chroniclers of Agincourt) pointed out anything concerning the French getting stop the fingers of taken British bowman.

And for various reasons, it made no military sense whatsoever for that French to capture British archers, then mutilate them by reducing their fingers. Medieval players weren’t motivated to consider prisoners simply because they were observing an ethical code that determined opponents who’d set their arms and stopped fighting should be treated humanely, speculate they understood high-ranking captives were valuable property that may be ransomed for the money. The ransoming of prisoners was the only method for medieval soldiers to create a quick fortune, and they also grabbed every available chance to capture opponents who might be exchanged for handsome prices.

Bowman weren’t valuable prisoners, though they was outdoors the chivalric system and were considered the social inferiors of males-at-arms. There wasn’t any financial reward to become acquired by recording them, nor was there any glory to become won by defeating them in fight. As John Keegan authored in the good reputation for warfare, “To meet a likewise outfitted opponent was the occasion that the armoured soldier trained possibly every single day of his existence in the start of manhood. To satisfy and beat him would be a triumph, the greatest form which self-expression could eat the medieval nobleman’s method of existence.” Archers weren’t the “similarly equipped” opponents that armored soldiers triumphed in defeating: when the two clashed in combat, the armored soldier would either kill an archer outright or leave him to bleed to dying instead of going towards the inefficient effort of taking him prisoner.

Furthermore, if archers might be ransomed, then reducing their middle fingers will be a senseless move. Your attacker won’t pay out (or pay out much) for that return of mutilated soldiers, now where do you turn together? Undertake the responsibility and cost of taking care of them? Kill them outright and violate the medieval moral code of civilized warfare? (Indeed, Henry V was heavily belittled for supposedly getting purchased the execution of French prisoners at Agincourt.)

As well as if killing prisoners of war didn’t violate the moral code from the occasions, what will be the reason for taking archers captive, reducing their fingers, after which executing them? Why don’t you simply kill them outright to begin with? Would you return these prisoners for your opponents in return for nothing, therefore supplying all of them with trained soldiers who are able to combat you a later date? (Even when archers whose middle fingers have been amputated could no more effectively use their bows, these were still able to wielding mallets, battleaxes, swords, lances, daggers, maces, along with other weapons, as archers typically did once the opponents closed ranks together and also the fighting grew to become hands-to-hands.)

Last, and surely most famously, wouldn’t these insolent archers happen to be bragging about plucking a bow’s string, and never the wood from the bow itself?

A lot for “history.”


The Origin of Giving The Finger


Cristian Gutierrez: Is he deep throating the microphone

smithryansmith: nonsense. this story is total b.s. there are NO primary sources for this. all made up.