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  #1  
Old 04-16-2010, 12:17 AM
Snert Snert is offline
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The 'Digital Salute'.

Whats's the origin of the single digit salute? This question popped up during a marathon beer altering contest last weeked.
Mr. Know-it-all said the Romans used it to signal, "Kill 'em!" Thumbs up, you walk off, finger up, you don't.
Mr. Know-it-all's track record is shabby, to be generous, but he did spark a debate.
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2010, 02:41 AM
DocCathode DocCathode is offline
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I believe Unca Cecil has done a column on this. Short version- The finger is a penis stand in. References to the middle finger as insult go back to ancient Rome.

Re Thumbs Up

The actual version used was this-

Thumb out meant take your sword out and stab the fallen gladiator to death.

Covering your thumb with the other hand meant put your sword in the scabbard and spare the loser.
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Old 04-16-2010, 07:25 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocCathode View Post
I believe Unca Cecil has done a column on this.
Yep. Here it is.
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...-of-the-finger
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Old 04-16-2010, 03:31 PM
Chessic Sense Chessic Sense is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocCathode View Post
The actual version used was this-

Thumb out meant take your sword out and stab the fallen gladiator to death.

Covering your thumb with the other hand meant put your sword in the scabbard and spare the loser.
That's debated, to say the least. I don't think we'll ever have a definitive answer on it.

I've also heard:
up- "Let him up"
down - "Put him down"

or

up - "I like the guy on top. Kill him."
down - "I like the guy on the bottom. Let him up."


ETA: Cite- you'll have to wait til I get home to cite the book and author.

Last edited by Chessic Sense; 04-16-2010 at 03:31 PM..
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Old 04-17-2010, 11:28 AM
mbh mbh is offline
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The version I heard was:

Thumb down = drop your sword.
Thumb toward the neck = cut his throat.

And one version said it was not literal throat-cutting, but rather stabbing down through the trapezius muscle to the heart.
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Old 04-17-2010, 10:31 PM
DocCathode DocCathode is offline
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Clearly, more research needs to be done.
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