The V-sign

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Maybe I’m just becoming a pernickety old man, but I find myself more and more easily irritated by people who think they know something they don’t.

The latest example is this “Street Art” hoarding in Gothenburg. It’s more irritating because it’s actually quite a good idea that is spoiled by the artist’s ignorance.

V-sign: Peace/Victory

The V-sign

The V-sign can mean both victory and peace and the artist has thought to contrast these two senses, as you can see, by showing this mutilated hand. Under almost any other circumstances, I’d applaud this. It’s a clever idea.


The V-sign, whether meaning victory or peace, is made with the palm of the hand facing towards the viewer. When it’s made with the back of the hand towards the viewer – in Britain, Ireland and a number of other places – it means the same thing as the middle finger sign in America and Europe.

Basically: Fuck you!

The V-sign: Peace/Victory/FuckYou

The Battle of Agincourt

How old is it? Who knows. Certainly 100 years or more, though it’s probably not as old as some Brits will tell you. It doesn’t go back to the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 and British archers flashing their two fingers at the French to show they were ready to use their bows and arrows. That’s just a myth – an a fairly modern one at that. See this article from Oxford Reference for more:

(For more about the V-sign as an insult, go here:

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