The Digitus Impudicus

The "digitus impudicus" refers to the gesture of extending the middle finger, often known as "flipping the bird" or "giving the finger." While it's difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of this gesture, its history is intertwined with various cultures and has evolved over time. Here are some interesting facts about the middle finger and its historical context: 

The History of The Middle Finger

Well, turns out that the middle finger gesture is not a modern introduction to civilization at all!

Going back all the way to the time of Ancient Greeks, the symbol was used as a phallic symbol meant to represent the male genitalia. In fact, anthropologist Desmond Morris has been quoted saying that:

"The middle finger is the penis and the curled fingers on either side are the testicles. By doing it, you are offering someone a phallic gesture. It is saying, 'this is a phallus' that you're offering to people, which is a very primeval display."

The Romans also had a special name for it: digitus impudicus. When translated, it would mean the ‘unchaste or shameless finger ’ .

There’s another very interesting (but also grotesque) theory around the origin of this gesture which claims that during Battle of Agincourt in 1415 between France and Britain, the French soldiers would chop off the middle as well as the index finger of the British archers since both these are important when it comes to shooting arrows. When the French failed to do so, the British soldiers would often show them the two fingers while shouting ‘pluck yew’ given that their bows were made from the yew tree.


It’s tough to narrow down where the F-word actually came from. Some sources say it dates back to the Middle English word “fucken,” which, among other things, meant to penetrate. Others say it comes from a German word, “ficken,” that means the same thing. There are also discussions about a Dutch word and even speculation about whether Shakespeare used a word that might have had something to do with it. Along with this eRumor there are also other creative suggestions that have no basis in history such as the F-word being an acronym for “Fornication Under Consent of the King” or “For the Use of Carnal Knowledge.”

Things to consider when giving the digitus impudicus, meaning the shameless, indecent or offensive finger.

Flipping the bird (or giving someone the finger) is the world’s favorite naughty gesture. But there’s definitely an art to it. The subtle nuances of the physical finger, facial expression, and context of the act itself, can make it anything from deeply offensive to friendly and joking and sometimes even a statement of friendship-love.

When "giving the finger" steps need to be followed for the proper delivery. The man in the video above and millions of other men, women and children are digitally challenged. Do your part to stop the epidemic. Please read our review of this bird flipper above and learn to give a better finger. Make it clear when delivering a finger that you care and want others to understand, "this finger is for you".

Do not project the finger to the side

​Everyone knows the finger should be prominently and forcefully put forward towards the intended target. The execution should be a straight upright finger, facing forward stopping at a preferred 90 to 110 degree bend in the elbow while always keeping the finger between you and your intended target.This video shows the off to the side lazy finger. Not the correct finger etiquette.

We prefer no thumb

The thumb should be tucked tightly in the palm covering the fingers which have been firmly bent at the second knuckle. This is leaving only the middle finger, the longest and strongest to be proudly displayed. The thumb out or any other appendages on the hand that are not firmly tucked behind the palm so the middle finger is clearly the message is just a waste of your time and the receiving party.

Stop the face , please

The facial twist here is just a total distraction and the finger is not part of the conversation. If you have gone through all the steps to deliver a proper and professional finger then you want it to be correct all the way through. The excution of a complete finger consists of more than just the perfect digit diplay it also requires support from the rest of you. The finger needs to be the center of attention in its delivery, display and retraction. Then and only then after the complete finger cycle you may proceed with any follow up verbal abuse, body language or facial expression....

Giving a finger, delivering a middle finger, flipping someone off, administering the one finger salute. Whatever your preferred phrase may be the delivery only emphasis your finger and brings attention to your intent and the short time you have to really show you care. Life is too short to waste on meaningless fingers.

The situation will arise where a proper finger cannot be delivered. In these cases many different acceptable digitus medius manus variations have been developed over thousands of years. Quadrillions of these fingers have been given throughout the world ( *world finger census 2015 ). Here are some examples of acceptable fingers.

The Driving Finger

The driving finger is used by both driver and passenger to express displeasure with an event or events with other drivers. Here you see a well delivered finger, thumb in ,great delivery and in the driving finger scenario the full face exposure is necessary due to the brief drive by time.

The "Look What I Found" Finger

This is best used when you wish to get their attention first. The usual "Hey" is followed with phrases such as " Look what I found " or " I have something for you " . And don't forget the classic " I found this and I think its yours"

The Extended Delivery Finger

When you need to "drive the message home". The extended delivery finger has many different deliveries and can come out of nowhere because the delivery is usually at a time of extreme duress and displeasure with someone. This is used to ensure you get your point across.

The" I might be giving you The Finger " Finger

Always enjoyable to give at any occasion. The " I might be giving you The Finger " is one of the favorites for any age. The ability to give in any situation is always important in life. When using this technique the delivery may be just the common rub of the face as seen here or the classic eye glasses lift. The delivery is up to the user. The duration can give away your stealthy finger and may hinder the effect. The ultimate goal of this delivery technique is the receiver and others in the room need to pause momentarily and contemplate " Did he or she just give The Finger ? " This does require practice with others and in groups.