V Sign

The V sign is a hand gesture in which the first and second fingers are raised and parted, whilst the thumb and remaining fingers are clenched. With palm inwards, in the United Kingdom and some other English speaking countries, it is an obscene insulting gesture of defiance. During World War II, Winston Churchill popularized its use as a ‘Victory’ sign (for V as in victory) initially with palm inwards and, later in the war, palm outwards.

In the United States, with the palm outwards, and more recently inward, it is also used to mean ‘Peace,’ a meaning that became popular during the peace movement of the 1960s. In East Asia the gesture is commonly used with the palm outward, connoting positive meaning. According to a popular legend the two-fingers salute derives from the gestures of longbowmen fighting in the English army at the Battle of Agincourt (1415) during the Hundred Years’ War. The French claimed that they would cut off the arrow-shooting fingers of all the English and Welsh longbowmen after they had won the battle at Agincourt. But the English came out victorious and showed off their two fingers, still intact.

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