How Did The Middle Finger Become An Offensive Gesture? See Through!

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It doesn’t matter what language you speak, once someone gives you the middle finger (or flip the bird as Americans call it), you know the person has said ‘f@#k you’.

Now you don’t need any translator to understand what ‘f@#k you’ means. It’s an expression of the worst form of contempt and disregard. But how did it become to be so?


Unfortunately for elders who would want to blame it on hiphop, it’s much older than hip-hop. Even much older than people of the last generation. That gesture has been around for more than 2,500 years.

Greek playwright Aristophanes first wrote about this gesture in his play The Clouds in 423 BC. The gesture was used in a crude way to represent the male genitalia: the middle finger represented the pen!s while the curled fingers beside it were the testicles. The Romans called it digitus impudicus or the indecent finger.


Since then it’s been a very offensive gesture frowned upon by society. Now you know. You can thank us later.

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