The gesture is also known as the "bird", "flipping the bird", "flipping someone off", "shooting a bird", "flying the bird", "telling me I'm number one", "the single-finger/one-fingered salute", "birdie worthy's", or innumerable other obscure monikers. When both hands are used (for emphasis), it may be known as the "double-barreled salute/giving both barrels", the "double deuce", a "double whammy", "Manute Bol", or the "dirty double". A variation of the hand gesture is also made by showing someone the back of the hand, with three fingers extended, with the comment to "read between the lines."
"I use my fingers to play the piano."
The origin of this gesture is speculative, and quite possibly thousands of years old. It is identified as the digitus impudicus ("impudent finger") in Ancient Roman writings and reference is made to using the finger in the Ancient Greek comedy The Clouds by Aristophanes. It was defined there as a gesture intended to insult another person. 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 digitus impudicus was one of many methods used to divert the ever present threat of the evil eye. Another possible origin is the phallic imagery of the raised middle finger (the middle finger being the longest finger on the human hand), similar to the Italian version of the bent elbow insult. Also, there is a variation of the finger where it can be done by performing The Fangul, by sticking out the finger during the throwing motion. A popular urban legend states that during the Hundred Years' War, the French would cut off the middle fingers of captured English archers so they would be unable to use their bows, and that after the Battle of Agincourt, the victorious English showed the French that their middle fingers were still intact.. This legend is also said of the V sign.