This hand gesture with the index and middle finger extended with the other fingers clenched can either signify victory when the palm of the hand faces outwards or f off or f you with the palm facing inwards. The latter insulting gesture is known chiefly in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, parts of the Caribbean, and lingers on in countries that were once British colonies or possessions. The V-sign signifying victory originated during the Second World War and of course was popularised by Winston Churchill. No one knows for sure what the exact etymological origin of the insulting gesture is, but like the middle finger, many false etymologies have emerged. Some sources maintain that it was originally a sign made to a cuckold and dates from the 1600s. Others maintain that the first unambiguous use of the V-sign as an insulting gesture dates from the early 20th century and only became popular after the Second World War. During the 1990s, folklore etymology was widely circulated that the origin stemmed from interplay between French soldiers and English archers at the battle of Agincourt, but, like a similar story about the middle finger, this is nothing more than innocent make-believe. Unfortunately, far too many people accept it as fact, including organisations like the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and the Daily Mirror who should know better. Curiously enough, French archives, dating from the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453), do record that captured English archers often had their first three fingers amputated so that they could never again draw a longbow. Perhaps this was the catalyst for the myths that sprang up during the 1990s. Note that three fingers are required to draw a medieval longbow, not the two or the middle finger as postulated in the false etymologies. See also Middle finger.