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Pluck Yew

Claim: The ‘middle finger salute’ is derived from the defiant gestures of English archers whose fingers had been severed by the French at the Battle of Agincourt.

The ‘Car Talk’ show (on NPR) with Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers have a feature called the ‘Puzzler’, and their most recent ‘Puzzler’ was about the Battle of Agincourt. The French, who were overwhelmingly favored to win the battle, threatened to cut a certain body part off of all captured English soldiers so that they could never fight again. The English won in a major upset and waved the body part in question at the French in defiance. The puzzler was: What was this body part? This is the answer submitted by a listener:


 
Dear Click and Clack, Thank you for the Agincourt ‘Puzzler’, which clears up some profound questions of etymology, folklore and emotional symbolism. The body part which the French proposed to cut off…

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