Mooning: A History

If the gesture was employed on the battlefield between the English and Scots, as in Braveheart, the mooning may have been taken place the other way around. The University of York professor Nicola McDonald points out that, according to the chronicle of the 13th century historian Peter Langtoft, it was the English who used mooning to insult the Scots…

Though it was a worldwide phenomenon by the 19th century, mooning didn’t get its name until the 1960s. The Oxford English Dictionary dates moon and mooning to student slang of the 1960s, when the gesture became increasingly popular at American universities…

From Wikipedia:

In Western culture, the finger (as in giving someone the finger or the bird), also known as the finger wave, the middle finger, flipping someone off, flipping the bird, shooting the bird, the rude finger, the one finger salute, the Trudeau salute (in Canada), (and other names) is an obscene hand gesture. It communicates moderate to extreme contempt, and is roughly equivalent in meaning to “fuck off”, “fuck you”, “shove it up your ass”, “up yours” or “go fuck yourself.”

It is performed by showing the back of a closed fist that has only the middle finger extended upwards, though in some locales the thumb is extended. Extending the finger is considered a symbol of contempt in several cultures, especially Western cultures. Many cultures use similar gestures to display their disrespect, though others use it to express pointing with no intentional disrespect toward other cultures.

The gesture dates back to Ancient Greece and was also used in Ancient Rome…  It also represented the phallus, with the fingers next to the middle finger representing testicles..

The First Ever Middle Finger Captured on Film Was Flipped by an Angry Boston Baseball Player in the 1800’s

The ornery attitude was a side effect of the amount of booze the Boston baseball player used to put back, even during games.  According to Achorn, a family member said Radbourn drank a quart of whiskey a day while playing the sport…

Achorn first stumbled on the infamous picture of Radbourn giving the finger during a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame several years back. The photo got him thinking about who the first person was to ever brandish the bird, and after some research, he discovered Radbourn may not only have been the first, but also the second to be documented doing it…

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