Youtube user thetoaster2006 created this badass supercut of people giving the middle finger in the movies! All to the dulcet tones of Cee Lo Green‘s Fuck You – it’s too perfect. Watching this actual got me curious as to the origins of flippin’ the bird, and wouldn’t ya know it? Wikipedia has the answer.
In Ancient Greece it was known as the κατάπυγον (katapugon, from kata – κατά, “downwards” and pugē – πυγή, “rump, buttocks”) and reference is made to using the finger in ancient Greek comedy to insult another person, where the term katapugon also meant “a male (or a female, katapugaina) who submits to anal penetration”. It is identified as the digitus impudicus (impudent finger) in Ancient Roman writings and the widespread usage of the finger in many cultures is likely due to the geographical influence of the Roman Empire and Greco-Roman civilization. Another possible origin of this gesture can be found in the first-century Mediterranean world, where extending the finger was one of many methods used to divert the ever-present threat of the evil eye offense.
So when you give the finger, you’re insinuating that the person takes it up the butt! And now you know.