The finger  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In Western cultures, the finger (as in giving someone the finger) is a well-known obscene hand gesture made by extending the middle finger of the hand while bending the other fingers into the palm. A known variation includes extending the thumb as well.

The gesture is also known as the "bird", "flipping the birdie", the "highway salute", "The New York Hello", "concert C", "sticking your middle finger up", "Showing Off Your Monkey", "The One-fingered Salute", "The Canadian Turn Signal", and "flipping someone off". When both hands are used, it is known as the "double-barrel salute", the "double deuce", or the "dirty double". A variation of the gesture is also made by showing someone the back of the hand, with three fingers extended, and telling the recipient to "read between the lines". A more comical approach is to wiggle all five fingers and query, "Do you see these?" retracting all but the middle finger state, "Its a whole flock of these." (A distinct reference to the aforementioned "bird")

In the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand, the V sign (given with back of the hand towards the recipient) serves a similar purpose (primarily "fuck off"), whilst "the bird" is more often used for "up yours", "swivel on it", "sit and swivel on it" or "sit and spin".

In eastern countries like Iran the "thumbs up" gesture means the same as "the finger" in western countries which can result in misunderstandings.

In some African and Caribbean countries, a similarly obscene gesture is extending all five digits with the palm facing forward, meaning "you have five fathers" (thus calling someone a bastard).

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The finger" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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