What Does Shooting a Bird at Someone Mean ?

What is the Origin of Shooting a Bird at Someone?

If you ever witness someone making a rude gesture with their middle finger, it’s known as flipping the bird. Explore what this expression means and its origins by reading on!

The first recorded instances of giving someone the bird date back to the 1860s. At that time, people would hiss performers they didn’t admire on stage.


The expression “flipping the bird” was first coined in 1860 and refers to a gesture in which you extend your middle finger in an offensive or crude way. This term originated from Chumley’s Bar at 86-Bedford Street in New York City.

One particularly offensive example was when the New York Giants used their home field in Boston to taunt rivals, the Beaneaters, during a game in 1999. Although this wasn’t an especially well-executed gesture, it certainly caught attention among sports fans across America and beyond.

Although it was an obvious reason for omitting one finger or failing to reach all corners of the hand when performing this action, there was another interesting note: this tactic had never before been employed in a football game and seemed perfectly appropriate.

Similar terms

A sneering, glancing swipe of the middle finger is no longer a novelty, but it has become somewhat of a catchphrase among those who feel aggrieved or offended by others. A recent news story about an Indiana man being ticketed for flashing his middle finger at a traffic officer garnered national attention.

The origin of this gesture is uncertain, though linguistics expert Jesse Sheidlower speculates it may have originated in Italy or the United States. Examples include a baseball pitcher’s snide shot or a high school football player’s sarcastic flick.

Another common gesture among men is flashing their middle finger at fellow passengers in a car or pedestrians on the sidewalk to express displeasure or frustration. It is also used to call out someone’s name in sports events.

Shooting a bird may not seem like the simplest option, but it’s actually quite complex and time-consuming. It requires precision to execute successfully.

What Is the Origin of Shooting a Bird at Someone?


It is essential to comprehend the origins of these terms, as some can be highly offensive. Some are racist and sexist in nature; therefore, being aware of their past will help ensure you do not use them inappropriately in the future.

An example of this is the slang term gringo, which originates from both the Mexican-American War and green, representing the color worn by American soldiers during that conflict. Over time these words came together to form one word – gringo – which now refers to someone who is an illegal immigrant.