Flipping the Bird

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Chelios finally gets to say, "Fuck you, too." While on fire.

'Flipping the Bird', or 'the Finger' as it is also known, is the act of raising one's middle finger upwards while keeping the rest of the fingers bent at the first joint or curled tight into the palm of the hand. For added expression, the participant should extend the arm to its full length and raise slightly above the shoulder line, perform this movement in a one sharp movement to add complete indignation to the gesture. For added effect, one can Dual Wield the gesture in what is sometimes called the "Double Deuce."

To flip someone off is an insult in most of the Western World, and earliest references of it go all the way to Ancient Roman writings, where it is referred to as digitus impudicus (the "impudent digit"). Often directed to those in authority in an act of defiance, Flipping The Bird is an easy way to get across complicated emotions in one motion. Also used occasionally by people who are being photographed against their will, and want to ensure the resulting image won't be publishable. Frequently used toward another driver while at the wheel.

A known British variation of the gesture is the "two fingers," where the index finger is also raised, otherwise known as "making a V-sign." Distinguished from the (inoffensive) 'victory'/'peace' "V" Sign by the palm facing inward, away from the target, much as it does for the single-finger equivalent. A popular but apocryphal story about the origin of this version of the gesture involves the 1415 Battle of Agincourt, where the French allegedly boasted they would cut off the bow-fingers of every English longbowman they captured. When the English soundly beat them, they supposedly held up their still-intact fingers at the French in defiance.

A variety of other gestures are considered obscene in various cultures around the world. Notable gestures include "the fig,"[1] which is vulgar in France, Greece, and some Near East countries, and the "okay" gesture,[2] which is obscene in Turkey and some South American countries.

Examples of Flipping the Bird include:

[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Bentley: Chairman [dead link] ad. Nuff said.[context?]
  • In an ad for Wild Turkey Kentucky Bourbon, a group of guys are contemplating whether the woman at the end of the bar likes one of them, when suddenly she flips them off. Apparently not, right? Turns out, in this bar, the finger means "order that person a Wild Turkey on the rocks." As reflected in the tagline, "Give 'em the bird."

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

"You got FUCKED!"

    • Amen, hallelujah and peanut butter.
  • In Fruits Basket, Haru does this to Kyo during their fight as he's saying "Go to hell!"
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, the Hitachiin brothers do this rather frequently.
  • In an episode of Ranma ½, when they fight the Gambling King, the King uses it to punctuate his rant/challenge. Then it gets returned to him... by Akane, of all people. It's apparently considered a somewhat milder insult in Japan than in the West; it shows up in anime and manga quite a lot.
    • Akane did it also in another episode, to Ranma; while hitting himher on the head with her Hyperspace Mallet at the same time.
    • Ryoga also did it once when talking smack to Ranma.
    • Then there was the time that Nabiki flipped off Soun.
    • And man, Ranma flips off people a lot in the manga.
    • A truly epic one happens in the Martial Arts Dining arc when Ranma is stuck in an iron corset and accidentally turns into his boy side.

Soun: You call yourself my future son?!
Ranma: *while flipping Soun off* So yells my "dad," the little French maid!

  • In One Piece, when Eustass Kid and Trafalgar Law (two of the "11 Supernovas", rookies with huge bounties, including Luffy and Zoro) meet, Kid insults Law, who casually flips him the bird in response. This gesture was omitted in the anime version, but Kid's reaction to it is retained.
    • After the timeskip, Sanji does this to the crossdressers of Kamabakka Kingdom as a farewell.
  • In the first chapter of Naruto, we're treated to a flashback panel where Naruto is giving The Double Deuce to Iruka.
    • Done quite a few more times in the Naruto manga, mostly by Kiba.
  • Jan Valentine enjoys this and does it to Integra just before he dies.
  • Sanosuke from Rurouni Kenshin is another repeating offender.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Vegeta does this in one of the Frieza saga episodes.
    • And at the end of the series, a very rude boy did this to 4 year old Pan when she accidentally bumped into him.
    • Almost every character in DBZ flips the bird at least once. Exceptions are Goku and Buu, who both prefer more childish rude gestures like sticking their tongue out.
    • Actually, about Buu...
    • There's also a chapter title page where half of the cast flips off Cell.
  • In Dai no Dai Bouken Flazzard makes this gesture to Marm before his first defeat.
  • In Bleach Isshin simultaneously flips Aizen the bird and knocks him several city blocks back (it's unknown if some sort of hand gesture was necessary or if it was entirely because he felt like it).
    • The manga features Grimmjow grinning madly while flipping off the reader.
  • In chapter 7 of Sensual Phrase Sakuya does this to spite his half brother Ralph, even saying "FUCK YOU!"
  • Shows up in Mahou Sensei Negima, where Chamo gives Fate the finger. Possibly. His super-deformed style makes it tough to tell, but that gesture probably fits the situation best.
  • Becky from Pani Poni Dash does this in the first episode. It wouldn't be as jarring if it weren't for the fact that she's an eleven-year-old teacher who did that to her students. She demanded respect as a teacher, and the students immediately smack her on the head for being so disrespectful.
  • The Gunsmith Cats salute an annoying ATF agent this way as he leaves. Of course, as average residents of The Windy City, it's reasonable.
  • You'd think that a show about a Card Game wouldn't have this, but You'd be wrong. This tends to pop up when the Hero or Lancer sets up a comeback so awesome, there's no need to bring the flipped finger up.
  • Early in Excel Saga, when Excel is in prison, another prisoner asks if there's anyone she likes. She attempts to give a shy thumbs-up of "yeah", but accidentally flips her new friend off on the first attempt.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho Kuwabara begins bashing Yusuke in comparison to his spirit sword vs Yusuke's spirit gun saying the gun is weaker. Yusuke responds with "That depends on which finger I'm using" while flipping Kuwabara off clearly. This was, of course, edited out of the Toonami block version.
  • In an episode of Samurai Champloo called "Baseball Blues", a baseball team from America challenges Mugen and his friends to a baseball game, and a nasty fat player flips the them off.
  • In the Lucky Channel portion of Lucky Star, Akira does this (though it's sort of hidden) when saying "It's irritating!" in a cheery voice about something Minoru had said.
  • In episode 3 of Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka, Orito flips off Ayumu while challenging him to a round of bowling to see if he can start living in his house along with Yuu, Seraphim, and Haruna.

Orito: If I win, I'll start living in your house today!
Ayumu: I don't understand.
Orito: (Gives the finger) Say your prayers!

Comedy[edit | hide]

Comics[edit | hide]

Fan Works[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • One of the earliest examples of this in a mainstream film would be The Miracle Woman, a Barbara Stanwyck drama made in 1931 (in other words, prior to the implementation of the Hays Code), which has a scene where the chauffeur of Stanwyck's character does this to their boss.
  • In a deleted scene in Avatar, Max Patel cheerfully flips the bird at Parker Selfridge, just before ripping through the command center's windows with a titanic slash cutter, letting in the rogue avatar team.
  • In Highlander II the Quickening, a random bar patron flips Connor off right before bashing him over the head with a bottle.
  • In Ghost Rider, the titular hero gives escapes the cops by jumping off a bridge and into a river. He quickly flips them off as they look after him.
  • In the movie My Science Project, one guy flips off an asshat honking at him from behind... with a light-up one!
  • In Problem Child 2, Junior Healey is driving his dad home, and an unseen driver cuts him off. The kid knows how to make use of "the highway salute".
  • In Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Ace has a football player give him the finger so he can get a good look at his championship ring.
  • In Alien S:

Hudson: Man, this floor is freezing!
Apone: What do you want me to do, fetch your slippers for you?
Hudson: Gee, would you, sir? I'd like that.
Apone points at his own eye with his middle finger
Apone: Look into my eye.

Bree: (after almost hitting Mary and Tami with her car) Sorry, I didn't see you. It's like you're invisible.
Tami: (shows her fist) Oh yeah!? Here's my invisible finger!

  • Films 2 and 3 of the Austin Powers trilogy had examples of this, both of which involved Mini-Me.
  • One of the aliens in Bad Taste does this on the movie poster. (Peter Jackson, you mad genius you.)
  • Blade Trinity shows a few suit-clad vampires going into a tomb in the desert. Before going in, one of them flips the bird at the sun. 'Cause, y'know, it's not able to kill him for a change.
  • The first Bring It On film had two examples of this. The first one was when a Toros cheerleader flipped off her ex-boyfriend after they lost a game. The second had the main character's little brother doing it after being taunted for sneaking into the girl's locker room.
    • Missy does a one after a Toros cheerleader mockingly points out that tattoos aren't allowed. She rubs off the "tattoo" with her middle finger.
  • Bruce Almighty: "Do you like jazz? I like jazz. I especially like the trumpet."
  • In Eight Mile Alex and B-Rabbit give each other the Finger cordially.
  • Ash in Evil Dead 2 gets this from his own demon-possessed severed hand.
  • In Tank Girl, the titular heroine (played by Lori Petty) says this to the Head of Water and Power (Malcolm McDowell):

Rebecca: There is a great, big, humongous honking booger in your left nostril... I suggest you use this finger to get it out!

  • The younger sister of the heroine in Final Destination 3 flashes the double-deuce when her big sister takes her picture at the amusement park.
  • In Groundhog Day, in at least one loop, Phil does a countdown to filming on his fingers, the middle finger being used for "one".
  • One character does this in Liar Liar.

Fletcher: (desperate to keep his secretary around) I'll give you the raise!
Gretta: Here's your raise! (flips it to him)

  • Men in Black features Agent J (Will Smith) doing a similar obfuscated-flip, as Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) responds to the younger agent's questions about advanced Men in Black privileges with "When you grow up." J replies with "Oh...okay", while scratching his head with his middle finger.
  • The film adaptation of Mr. Bean, the biker gave the bird to Bean while taking a picture of him and giving him a thumbs up from the car. Unaware of the gesture, Mr. Bean gives everyone the bird he passes by.
  • The first movie of The Naked Gun series has a memorable scene where a driver instructor (played by John Houseman deadpanly instructs his meek girl student, "All right, Stephanie, gently extend your arm. Extend your middle finger. Very good. Well done" in response to an obvious jackass a fellow driver angry at her for driving the wrong way on a one-way street. The girl feels truly empowered after this.
  • In one of the Police Academy movies, a snarky guy flips off a mounted police officer twice, once vertically and again horizontally (i.e. for the officer and the horse he rode in on).
  • Road Trip had a blind girl giving Seann William Scott's character the bird after he feeds her seeing-eye dog a Slim Jim.
  • In School of Rock, after finding out that he's being booted from his own band, Jack Black holds up three fingers. "Read between the lines, my friend."
  • Spaceballs: Barf does this at two guards when he and Lone Starr park at the Spaceball Prison Complex.
  • Spritle does it in Speed Racer.
  • Top Gun had Maverick and Goose tell the story of when they "flipped the bird" at a Soviet pilot (at the beginning of the film). Maverick originally decides to refer to it euphemistically- "improving international relations," until Goose both explains and demonstrates the gesture by flipping off the officers holding the briefing.
  • Tremors. The protagonists have decided to make a run for the bulldozer so they can make their escape, but they need something to distract the man-eating Graboids away from them. Melvin (an annoying minor character) is nearby.

Earl: Hey, Melvin, you wanna make a buck?
Melvin: Aww, eat it! [gives him The Finger]

  • Undercover Brother. The title character and Sistah Girl are being chased by two security guards in golf carts. The guards try to warn some senior citizens (also in golf carts) to clear out of the way, and one elderly woman gives them The Finger.
  • Roddy Piper does this in They Live! as he lies dying, having exposed the true, unpleasant form of the aliens .
  • Two Thousand Twelve. Tamara does this to her now exboyfriend who had tried to leave her dead, as she climbs into a secret compartment of the ship, now leaving him for dead in return.
  • In X-Men 1, Wolverine flips Cyclops off with one of his claws during the climax.
  • Sally Field flips off a motorcycle cop in Smokey and the Bandit as she and Burt Reynolds come to Jerry Reed's rescue.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, drummers seem to like this gesture.
    • Kim flips off Gideon before the Sex Bob-Omb plays, and does it by using her middle finger to rub under her eye.
    • Earlier before the Matthew Patel fight, the drummer flips Wallace off.

Wallace: (heckling) Is that girl a boy, too?
Crash: Yes. (Drummer immediately flips the bird!)

  • In The Hangover, a little girl flips off Alan on the highway while the gang is on their way to Las Vegas.
  • In RoboCop, Robo himself offers a version of The Finger when a technician insists that Robocop is not allowed in the computer records room. Granted, it was only a data probe, but its position on Robocop's hand gives it a dual-purpose role.
  • The Matrix: "Yeah, well, that sounds like a pretty good deal. But I think I may have a better one. How about, I give you the finger... and you give me my phone call."
  • In Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Ironbar flashes one of these as he dies under the wreckage of his crashed car.
  • The movie adaptation of Dragnet had an interrogated suspect flip off Friday and his partner, Pep Streebeck. Streebeck leaves to get coffee, Friday then teaches the thug a lesson in manners.
  • Nicholas Angel does the British variation, accompanied by a raspberry and the phrase "Jog on!" He picked it up from his partner Danny.
  • In Star Trek IV the Voyage Home, the punk on the bus gives Kirk the finger after Kirk asks him to turn down the music on his boombox... and gets a Vulcan Nerve Pinch for it!
  • Bialystock and Bloom in the latest The Producers respond this way while taking the Siegfried Oath (while Franz isn't looking, of course).
  • In Inception, Yusuf does this to a projection when he drives off the bridge to set off the kick in Fischer's first dream layer.
  • The South Korean King Kong rip-off, A.P.E.features a giant monkey giving the finger to an exploding helicopter. Seen here.
    • And speaking of apes, in the movie Cannonball Run II, an orangutan chauffeur gives an old lady one when she waves to him!
  • Unintentionally in Rat Race, when Randy burns his finger in the cigarette lighter of Hitler's car and holds it up while next to a biker. His wife tries to explain while wagging hers. He next tries explaining the situation to World War II veterans.[1]
  • The poster for Trainspotting includes Begbie giving the V-sign to the viewer.
  • In Ali G Indahouse, Ali G thinks he's being rebellious by giving the V-sign to a cop car just below the rim of his car window, so it's completely hidden.
  • In The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, John Bigbooté flips off Dr. Emilio Lizardo behind his back.
  • The 1980 comedy Used Cars has a scene where a student driver is instructed to do this by her teacher (played by the distinguished John Houseman, of The Paper Chase) when another driver cuts them off.
  • The garden gnome in Project X has its middle finger raised.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill gives this to a couple of Nova Corps members. Despite Disney having the rights to the film, it went uncensored in the films, even as the OBSCENE GESTURE DETECTED alert goes off.
  • Alien vs. Ninja: Mika had a message for the defeated alien.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • The original novella for The Running Man by Richard Bachman ends with the hero presenting the double-deuce to his enemy while performing a suicide attack via jumbo jet, aimed at his enemy's skyscraper headquarters. He had earlier flipped off the camera in an image used to present him to the viewing audience.
  • Performed by a cleaning robot in The California Voodoo Game, in which the machine has been disguised as a cyborg octopus (long story) and sent to hinder S.J. Waters' crawl through a ventilation duct. The machine has no voice synthesizer, so the Game Master uses this robot's hologram-illusion tentacles to express its defiance after S.J. cripples it in hand-to-pincer combat.
  • It's subtle, but a fantastic version appears in Matthew Stover's Shatterpoint:

"I can read your mind," he said darkly. "You only have three ideas, and all of them are wrong."
"Huh?"
Mace nipped up a thumb. "You think being armed and ruthless means you can do whatever you want." He folded his thumb and flipped up his forefinger. "You think nobody will stand up to you when they're naked." He folded that one again and flipped up the next. "And you think you're going to look inside my bag."

  • In Halo: Ghosts Of Onyx Kelly flips off a Sentinel drone to distract it while her team sets up an attack.
  • The V-sign is obliquely referred to in Harry Potter, where it is always referred to as an "obscene hand gesture" so as not to give the children any ideas.
    • The most direct reference to it being the V-sign is in Half-Blood Prince, in which Mrs Weasley threatens to jinx Ron's fingers together if she sees him doing it again.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Arya lists a number of things she's learned in Braavos, including obscene gestures such as "the fig."
  • In Plum Spooky, Stephanie comments "getting and giving the finger is a way of life in Jersey". She does, however, find it a bit odd to be getting this gesture from a pet monkey she's babysitting.
  • Several times in the Maximum Ride books, including once when it's used as an Incredibly Lame Pun (and lampshaded as such by Max herself).
  • In The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar, David, in the middle of helping a group of friends pull a prank on an elderly woman reputed to be a witch, flips her the bird. This results in the woman pronouncing a "curse" on David.
  • In Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion, the protagonist displays his late father's amputated arm from a pole atop his house, with all the fingers save the middle one tied down, as a gesture of defiance against the union loggers with whom he's feuding.
  • In Interesting Times, it is mentioned obliquely that the upturned middle finger is the gesture used in demon banishing spells, when Rincewind uses it to test his control of an army of clay soldiers: "Two thousand middle fingers stabbed towards the ceiling."

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Referenced in MythBusters. While testing the bouncing bullet myth (about a bullet that ricocheted in such a way that it killed the shooter), Adam and Jamie used a cardboard cutout of Jamie to represent the gunman/victim. One of the bullets they fired struck cutout!Jamie, in the words of the narrator, on the finger he "occasionally uses to advise fellow motorists".
  • There were several occasions on Dead Like Me where characters clearly gave someone else the finger, thanks to the fact that the show was aired on Showtime.
  • One episode of Flight of the Conchords (possibly called "Racist", since it was the one about the racist shopkeeper) featured the band's American friend teaching them how to "flip the bird".
  • Jewel Staite and Nathan Fillion of Firefly engaged in an ongoing competition of finding the most creative ways to flip each other the bird.
  • One Seinfeld episode had George thinking that one of the waitresses at Monk's was giving him the finger as she handed him the bill.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway:
    • Brad Sherwood asks something like, "You wanna see me turn my hand all blurry?" He then makes The Finger, which, yes, gets censored by being blurred. Unusual for this show; usually they use a Censor Box.
    • Another episode had Ryan accidentally banging his head, with Drew joking "How many fingers am I holding up?" Ryan replies with "How about me?", holding up just the one (censor box'd, of course)
    • There is also a running gag in which all the cast members give the director the finger. (Starts about 0:33 in, NSFW)
  • Done beautifully (if surreptitiously) by Glenn in The Thick of It: Julius asks him to hold up his fingers to count something and while he's talking, Glenn slowly lowers his fingers except for the middle one and keeps flipping the bird to Julius's face for a while.
  • A promotional (we think) image for Babylon 5 has pretty much the entire cast flipping off the camera in costume, with Peter Jurasik (Londo) giving both barrels. It can usually be found as an Image Macro with a caption like "Babylon 5 agrees that you're a fucking idiot".
  • The Snick show Roundhouse pulled one off in its episode about discrimination with the "Race Krispies" sketch. Self-censored (with a cardboard sign), of course: "Hey four-eyes, how many fingers am I holding up?"
  • There's an episode of Roseanne in which Leon starts making changes to the restaurant when Roseanne isn't there by persuading Nancy and Jackie agree on said changes. Nancy and Jackie inform Roseanne that they all voted in favor of uniforms and breakfast in her absence. Then...

Nancy: We also voted that the restaurant's official bird should be the toucan.
Roseanne: Would you like to see the bird I voted for? (she makes a gesture behind her hand that implies flipping the middle finger)

    • The episode, Bird Is The Word, evolves around this. Becky was accused of giving one in the school picture. Rather than protest, she opts to let the accusation slide as her popularity increase as a result until DJ and Roseanne cleared her name.
    • Roseanne also does this to a sexist truck driver in “The Getaway, Almost”.
  • In Porridge Fletcher is reading off a list of the things he's learned from his time inside, counting them on fingers as he goes. He forgets to add the third finger until Mackay notices it.

Fletch: All right. I'll just tell him three things. One - bide your time. Two - keep your nose clean. And three - don't let the bastards grind you down.

  • One imprisoned criminal on the short-lived series Hooperman goes the extra mile with this. He not only gives the title police detective the finger, he cuts it off and mails it to him.
  • Lister and Rimmer give the V-sign a few times on Red Dwarf, and at one point a Skutter (cleaning robot) gives it to Rimmer, which is quite an accomplishment considering their claw only has three digits.
    • Lister and the Cat treat Arnold to one in 'Better than Life', and Kryten (trying to figure out what he is after thinking he was in a Lotus Eater Machine while actually being in one) speculates that he'd be the Badass Cop who'd give one to Da Chief.
  • In Friends Ross made an alternative gesture for the finger (banging his fists together) as a child so he could do it in front of his parents.
  • Ben Stein would get away with this on his game show Win Ben Steins Money, scratching his face with his middle finger in the direction of Jimmy Kimmel, whenever he said something humorously insulting to Stein.
  • As mentioned above, Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer used the two-finger variant as an eloquent response to Xander's accusatory gesturing when they were struck speechless.
  • R. Lee Ermey on Mail Call said that the Marine salute done properly has the index finger and 'social finger' touching the brim of the cap.
  • An episode of Are You Being Served involved a few of the British reverse-V variant; it was described to prospective Japanese buyers of the store as the British Workers' Salute. They return the favour after Status Quo Is God is maintained from hijinks, apparently intentional.
  • The opening credits of Blackadder Back & Forth show a member of the Blackadder clan as a WW 2 soldier flipping the bird to Winston Churchill.
  • In a flashback episode of My Name Is Earl where Earl is competing against his cousin Blake for Joy's affection.

Earl: Honey, this is for you (kisses his two fingers in Joy's direction). Blake, one of these two fingers is for you.

  • David Letterman got away with it on his show; a guy wrote him a letter saying that he's hanging upside down, so Dave flipped him the bird upside-down.
  • In The Wire, McNulty's superior officer Rawls is introduced by giving him an extended "Fuck you" speech while holding up a double deuce.
  • In one episode of How I Met Your Mother, Barney attempts to do this to Ted. Unfortunately, he's wearing a penguin costume at the time, so he refers to it at "flippering you off".
    • Also implied (since Ted's telling the story to his kids) as giving the thumbs up.
  • Done regularly by various people in The Office. Always pixellated out.
  • In the Criminal Minds episode "Cold Comfort", Garcia is reading horoscopes and Prentiss declares that they are bullshit. Garcia mentions in the horoscope about bout "eliminating this cold front with a simple but affectionate gesture" and Prentiss replies with "I have a simple gesture" and flips them off (the camera angle changes for censorship purposes). The whole video can be seen here.
  • In one episode of Red Dwarf, a utility robot gives Rimmer the V-sign when Rimmer, playing chess with same, reveals that he stalling until the utility robot has to go back on duty, meaning Rimmer wins by default.
  • Saturday Night Live had a "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood" sketch where Mr. Robinson put on a puppet show, with finger puppets of poor black people imploring President Reagan to improve the economy. In one of the last scenes of this show, the puppet on Mr. Robinson's middle finger stood alone, and exclaimed, "Mr. President, I think I speak for all black people!"
  • In Two and A Half Men, after coming home from the hospital, Alan tries to flip off Charlie after he makes a "I Told You So" comment, but can't since his hand in a cast.

Charlie: Aww... you wanna flip me the bird, but the the poor little fellow can't fly.

  • In Stargate SG-1 Jack O'Neill told someone that his name was "spelled with two Ls!" while holding up three fingers.

Magazines[edit | hide]

  • The notorious finger cover of Mad, which many news stands refused to display.

Music[edit | hide]

  • In the Weird Al Yankovic video "White & Nerdy" the black gangstas he wishes to hang out with give him the finger (although it is blurred out for censorship reasons).
    • He does it himself in the video for "Amish Paradise" (and, like in "White & Nerdy," is also blurred out for censorship reasons).
  • Kevin Rudolf's "Let It Rock":

Now the son's disgraced, he who knew his father.
When he cursed his name, turned and chased the dollar.
But it broke his heart so he stuck his middle finger
to the world, to the world, to the world.

  • "American Recordings and Johnny Cash would like to acknowledge the Nashville music establishment and country radio for your support."
  • In "Born To Lose", the Great Luke Ski recommends that the Charlie Browns of the world do this to Lucy when she pulls the football away.
  • Eminem, "The Way I Am."

And all of this controversy circles me
And it seems like the media immediately points a finger at me
So I point one back at them
But not the index, or pinkie, or the ring, or the thumb;
It's the one you put up
When you don't give a fuck and you just won't put up
With the bullshit they pull, cause they full of shit too...

    • And again, more blatantly, in "The Real Slim Shady"...

So would the real shady please stand up
and put one of those fingers on each hand up...

  • "Ve Heil! Heil! Right in "Der Fuehrer's Face" (the palm was facing outwards in the footage of Spike Jones playing that song, but the gesture was just as rude)
  • "The One in the Middle" by Country Music singer Sarah Johns:

I would've given you the finger on my left hand
The one you use for a wedding band
But now I'm giving you the one in the middle
The one that's a little bit longer
And I've got another one on my other hand
So I can say it even stronger

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

Dilbert: How many digits?
Alice: I used one on each hand.

  • From FoxTrot, Peter's pitching in a baseball game and looking at the catcher's signals:

Peter: Two fingers? Shake him off. Three fingers? Shake him off. Two fingers? Shake him off again. Three fingers? Shake him off again. One finger?... Hey, same to you, pal!

Jon: Garfield! Get your paw out of the cookie jar! (Jon then looks surprised) Who taught you that gesture?!
Garfield: (offscreen) You, in the car, when you drive.

    • In another strip, when Jon and Garfield go to a vacation on the Guano-Guano island:

Jon: Look a native! Aloha, dude!
Native: (offscreen) Aloha, this!
Jon: Uh, must be an obscure Guano-Guano greeting.
Garfield: No, I think that's pretty universal.

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • If you really look had enough, there's an actually footage from following the jailhouse match with Big Boss Man and The Mountie. The latter does this after being demanded for fingerprints, by saying "You can't do this to me! You want the finger? There's the finger!". To top it off, this was in 1991.
  • Steve Austin's "Stone Cold Salute" in the WWE.
  • Ric Flair flipped off Triple H at Survivor Series 2005.
  • Diesel after costing The Undertaker the title at Royal Rumble 1996, which was notably before the Attitude Era.
  • Upon elimination from the 2004 Diva Search, Maria gave the finger to Carmella.
  • Vince McMahon does this a lot.
  • This is pretty much what Randy Orton opted to toward Seth Rollins in the episode March 9, 2015, much to the delight of fans.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The Angry Marines (probably NSFW), one of the many Warhammer 40,000 memes, do this all the time to everything and everyone. Just look at the first image.

Theatre[edit | hide]

  • In productions of the musical Spring Awakening, the final poses of "Totally Fucked" usually involve several characters flipping the bird.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • "Ah, the middle finger. The most communicative of fingers." - Guybrush Threepwood examines a hand shaped table in Escape from Monkey Island.
  • The "Sweet Goodbye" achievement in Mirrors Edge.
  • Your character can do this in Fable, and in Fable II you can have a sculptor make statues of you doing it.
  • The "final trailer" for Duke Nukem Forever showed Duke flipping off a big alien spaceship.
    • While in the game itself you do this after defeating a couple of bosses. Most notably would be when he finishes of the 'Queen Bitch' and just before losing consciousness, flips her off.
  • The player's farewell to Nines Rodriguez in the Independent ending of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines.
  • Quest for Glory 2 has this as an example of The Dev Team Thinks of Everything, where one can actually use the command "give Ferrari the bird".
  • Daxter gives this to Pecker in Jak 3 after yet another argument between the two, right in front of Jak, the king of Spargus, and an entire audience (who all gasp in unison). It was censored by showing it off-screen.
    • In Jak X Pecker gives one to G. T. Blitz, this time censored by Pixellation (justified since it happens on TV).
  • Dr. Fetus does this pose in the opening video, on the pause screens, and the Dark World loading screen.
  • Nero flips off Dante in Devil May Cry 4 as he's being absorbed by a huge, animated stone giant.
  • BloodRayne does this after killing the final boss, after slaughtering Wulf, gives a double bird in the ending, then gives the finger to Severin when he insults her.
  • Sol Badguy does this as his taunt.
  • In zOMG!, the Taunt ring draws aggro from nearby Animated. You flip one bird with three Rage Ranks, and you flip 'em both when you use full Rage. In both cases, the relevant fingers are blurred.
  • WWE wrestling games naturally have this as an option for taunts.
  • Paulie 'Wheels of Fury' Ryan salutes the Player Character this way when teams are chosen in Tony Hawk's Underground 2.
  • Jack Cayman of MadWorld has a variation of this, though he replaces "Middle Finger" with "Chainsaw from his arm".
  • In Ace Attorney Turner Grey flips off the player when he pushes up his glasses in his normal pose. In Japan though, it's not offensive, though it was overlooked in the American translation.
  • Bayonetta has a blink and you'll miss it moment where she flips off some angel that had just destroyed the road and then uses the finger as an ignition key for a motorbike.
  • In Gears of War 3 Cole asks politely if one of the stranded have a vessel they could borrow, the response; "Here are the keys to my luxury yacht" while giving him to finger.
  • Brutal Doom, a recent mod for Doom, uses this as the player's taunt. "FUCK YO' SELF!"
  • In Battlefield 3 you have to perform a quicktime event to kill a rat. If you fail, the rat makes enough noise to interest a guard, who then comes over and shoots you. As your character dies, he manages to flip off the rat.
  • In The Darkness 2, if you shoot the car coming at you during the scene in the parking garage it explodes, and Jackie does this to the driver as he passes overhead before crashing into the wall and dying. You even get the achievement "The Bird is the Word" for pulling this (easy) stunt off.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • The Order of the Stick gives us the spell "Bixby's expressive single digit".
    • And Xykon's "Hey, I just grew back a finger. Guess which one."
    • Also, Illusory Belkar combines this with a Narrative Profanity Filter: "Forceful assertion of open resentment toward authority. Please view accompanying hand gesture."
  • The Poke the Poodle page caption features Tycho from Penny Arcade doing this at a box of kittens.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, after taking an arm from the Creeth Ambassador...
Ennesby: I learned this one from a documentary about twentieth-century traffic signals.
(A CENSORED sign is seen over the hand.)
    • Kevyn responds, thusly...

Kevyn: I believe my line here would be "Is that your age or your IQ?"

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Strong Bad of Homestar Runner is fond of giving people the two-handed "double deuce"... despite having boxing gloves for hands.
    • And then Homestar Runner manages it without any arms. Unknowingly, at that!
  • The Strange Salute for the Republic of Kickassia.
  • The Bugle has a regular feature where listeners' Great Bird-Flipping Stories are read out.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd
  • Fuck You And Your H2 is a site dedicated entirely to pictures of people flipping off Hummer H2 drivers.
  • In Planet Dolan's, Dolan Stories: OUR PETS ARE WEIRD, Hellbent gives this to a dog after he saw her jumping on his bed to pee.
  • In Elite Facts video 50 Random Shower Thoughts #3, the narrator states this as being a hand signal for 'my bad' on the road, but he also inserts "No One would use it though"... implying this trope as many would say.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Babbit: Give me the bird! Give me the bird!!
Catsello: If da Hays Office would only let me... I'd give him 'da boid' all right!

Miles Standish: Begone, pests, and give me the bird!
Yakko: We'd love to, really, but the Fox censors won't allow it.

Icthulhu: Speak to me, child of Thanagar.
Hawkgirl: Nothing to say! I have a gesture for you, but my hands are tied.

  • In The Simpsons Movie, Homer flips off the Angry Mob with both hands as he escapes down a sinkhole. Then he gets stuck and tries to use the fingers to dig himself out.
    • Which is strange since he and the rest of the human cast have only four fingers. So what finger was he flipping?
      • The middle one.
        • Even weirder is that it wasn't digitized on the FX airings of the movie.
          • They're digitally edited out on the Fox airing so Homer's awkwardly moving his fists up and down, but in the episode where Homer bowls a perfect game, the bullies can be seen flipping the camera off in the background during the news report.
  • Fritz the Cat does this in The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat, to a telephone after the operator hangs up on him. Much like Homer Simpson, he only has four fingers.
  • Done ever so epically by the animated Adam Sandler to his caretaker as a hidden insult in the movie Eight Crazy Nights.

Whitey: Now I assume you've done your pre-game warm-ups.
Davey Stone: No, let me do them right now. [Holds up his fists, raises and lowers his middle fingers] One, two, three, four...
Whitey: [Oblivious] That's good, but don't forget your hammies.

  • In the movie-game tie in Dead Space: Downfall Alissa gives an interesting salute to the Captain after ordering to not help the colonists.
  • In Titan Maximum, this appears to be Gibbs's favorite gesture. He usually gets pretty creative with it.
  • Lois once did it to her mother on Family Guy.
    • It was digitized on FOX, but uncensored on Adult Swim.
    • In “Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q”, a squirrel does this to Brian.
    • Let’s not forgot this Road Trip.
  • Probably one of the oldest examples in a 1920's Fliescher Brothers cartoon during a plane race one of the racers refuses to give St. Peter a ride... and he gives the racer the finger when he leaves!
  • Total Drama Island uses this in one of their Getting Crap Past the Radar moments when Lindsay flips off Heather for betraying her.
    • In Action a clip features the Yeti giving Chef the finger for crashing his golf-cart into his.
    • Also in Action, Duncan does this to a cardboard cutout.
    • Used again in the World Tour finale, when Heather asks for support the camera immediately switches to Leshawna flipping her off from the peanut gallery.
  • Raphael may only have two fingers but he repeatedly gets away with doing this with his sai in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003.
  • When "E.T. Returns Home" on Robot Chicken he is teased by bullies for only having a single finger glow while they can do the same with all of them. They don't appreciate it when he responds by flipping that one finger.
  • In a Getting Crap Past the Radar moment in Ed, Edd n Eddy, Eddy does this to Rolf in "Ed in the Bush". Of course, it's not apparent that he even has a middle finger.
  • In Beast Machines, Thrust very clearly flips Optimus Primal the bird. (One imagines the animators only got away with it because Thrust only has 3 fingers on each hand.) Optimus is not amused.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • When captured by North Korea, the crew of the ship USS Pueblo were forced to appear in staged propaganda photos. Each man showed the finger in the photos. When pressed, they claimed it was a Hawaiian Good Luck sign. Unfortunately, North Korea was able to read the foreign press and soon discovered the truth.
  • Some people claim Barack Obama did this to Hillary Clinton during the primaries in 2008. Others maintain that he was just scratching his nose with his middle finger.
  • George W. Bush's one fingered victory salute.
  • An equivalent gesture (called in French the bras d'honneur or "Arm of Honor") is bending your right elbow, clenching your right fist and putting your left hand on your right arm's side opposing that of the elbow. The western variant was also imported into Russia from the West after The Great Politics Mess-Up. One can combine the arm with the Finger for emphasis.
    • Although it means the number 2 in American Sign Language, in many other English speaking countries like England… The “V” sign that has the palm facing the user is the equivalent of Flipping the Bird.
  • On WABC-TV in New York, anchor Roger Grimsby introduced a live broadcast from reporter Mara Wolinsky. Mara had been getting trouble from the cameraman and flipped him off just as the live broadcast started. The camera quickly cut back to Grimsby, who said, "Apparently, Mara knows who's number one in New York."
  • There was a minor scandal during the last election in Sweden, when the chairman of the Left Party flipped off a leading Conservative during a debate. Luckily, it was not televised. Unluckily, someone had a cellphone camera.
  • The most epic bird-flippery so far happened when a flock of birds flipped the bird... 'en masse' as a flock.
  • Actress Pauley Perrette, best known for her role as Abby Sciuto on NCIS, subverts this by having a "Have a Nice Day" Smile tattoo on the middle finger of her right hand.
  • During the final week of testimony in the Casey Anthony murder trial, a 28-year-old spectator decided to ignore the strict court orders against overt gestures or expressions, and flipped off prosecutor Jeff Ashton. Judge Belvin Perry found him in contempt and sentenced him to six days in county jail and a total fine of just over six hundred dollars.
  • Davao City, Philippines vice mayor Rodrigo Duterte flashed the finger and cussed at critics of his daughter Sara (who was the mayor) following her widely-publicized punching of a trial court sheriff. Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/07/04/11/duterte-flashes-dirty-finger-sara
  • One Utah homeowner was run through hell by his neighbors for building 18" above the maximum roof height. In response, he put some "abstract art" of "cacti" on the side of his house, in their direction. You be the judge.
  • Comedian Jackie Mason nearly saw his career destroyed after being accused of having done this during a 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan banned him from appearing on the show again for nearly two years, and only relented after Mason (who vociferously denied having made the gesture, or even being aware of its meaning) initiated a libel suit.
  • Penelope Soto, a Florida woman who was busted on a drug charge, became infamous for doing this to a judge; even the female detainee behind Soto was seen chuckling.
  • In this video, Jimmy Kimmel states Chris Benoit would make a better parent, considering that Benoit had killed his family. A group of women can be seen giving the middle finger... and who can blame them.
  • This never happens in Canadian Politics. The "Salmon Arm Salute", however...

Sports[edit | hide]

  • Cyclist Mark Cavendish gave us this post-win British variant.
  • A 1972 Monday Night Football game between the Oakland Raiders and Houston Oilers had a incident in which ABC cameras caught several Oilers fans leaving (the putrid Oilers were losing badly to then-AFC powerhouse Oakland). One guy that stayed happened to be caught on camera and, seemingly aware of it, raised the middle digit. This incident also provided commentator Don Meredith's "We're number 1 in the nation" quip.
    • Similar to this incident, the late newscast for San Francisco ABC station KGO following Super Bowl XIX (won by the hometown 49ers) shows a clip of some Miami Dolphins fans in a hotel to support the defeated Dolphins and one fan on an escalator flips the bird briefly (around the 1:51 mark).
  • Has cropped up a couple of times in NASCAR. One was in Dale Earnhardt's last race, done rather like an irate driver in traffic (which, in a way, he was), on Kurt Busch. Mike Joy interpreted it as Earnhardt telling Busch, "Kurt, you're number one."
    • Then, in the 7 November 2010 race at Texas, Kyle Busch did this to a NASCAR official who was enforcing a penalty on him. One (lap penalty) plus one (finger raised) equalled three (lap penalty).
  • Formula One had a few infamous cases. Heinz-Harald Fretzen did it to Mark Blundell after passing him, and his finger itself was caught on the on-car camera. Johnny Herbert did one on the podium.
  • During Game 4 of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens, Andrew Ference of the Bruins let the Habs fans have it by flipping them off after scoring Boston's second goal in the second period. Which is a case of Take That to the Montreal fans. Needless to say, the fans got pissed off and Ference would later be fined $2500 for the unsportsmanlike gesture.
  1. * A clenched fist, but with the thumb sticking out between the index and middle fingers, signifying a clitoris, and meaning, well...you know...
  2. Or rather an identical gesture that actually means "asshole"
  3. with finger down for 0 and finger up for 1, four in binary = 00100