Bras d'honneur

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A bras d'honneur (French pronunciation: ​[bʁa dɔˈnœʁ] "arm of honor"), Iberian slap (Spanish: "corte de manga"), or Italian salute[1] is an obscene gesture most common in France, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Georgia, Portugal, and Latin America. To form the gesture, an arm is bent to make an L-shape, with the closed palm pointing upwards, while the other hand then grips the biceps of the bent arm, and the bent forearm is then raised vertically emphatically. It has the same meaning as giving the finger (known as le doigt d'honneur), though this particular usage is often connotated as relating to the phrase "Up yours". Occasionally, the middle finger of the bent arm is also raised to add emphasis.

International nomenclature[edit]

  • In Brazil, the gesture is known as a "banana" and carries the same connotation as giving someone the finger. It can also be used to denote disrespectfully ignoring what someone just said, analogous in meaning to the American expression, "I don't give a fuck." In some South American countries it is called "corte de mangas" ("sleeve-cut") with the same meaning.
  • In Catalonia (Spain) the gesture is called "botifarra," which is also the name of a kind of sausage.
  • In other parts of Spain the gesture is known as "corte de manga" and is usually accompanied by the finger.
  • In Colombia the gesture has the function of replacing the raised middle finger, meaning "jódete" or "friégate".
  • In Portugal, the gesture has the same insulting meaning as in other cultures and is called a "manguito," which shows a relationship with the similar Spanish phrase "corte de mangas". It is also the most characteristic gesture performed by the Portuguese everyman "Zé Povinho".
  • In Mexico, the gesture is known as a "mentada de madre" (Insult to someone's mother) and means an insult directed towards the mother of the offended, though it can be done with a single hand.
  • In Italy the gesture is often referred to as gesto dell'ombrello, meaning literally "umbrella gesture." Its most famous occurrence in Italian cinema is in Federico Fellini's I vitelloni (1953), where the idler played by Alberto Sordi jeers at a group of workmen, combining this gesture with a raspberry.[2]
  • In Poland, the gesture is known as wał or gest Kozakiewicza ("Kozakiewicz's gesture") after Władysław Kozakiewicz, who famously displayed this gesture after winning the gold medal in the pole vault at the 1980 Summer Olympics in front of a hostile crowd in Moscow.[3] This coincided with the rise of the Solidarity Union in Poland in 1980.
  • In Croatia, the gesture is known as bosanski grb ("The Bosnian Coat-of-Arms") after the territorial coat of arms of Bosnia during the Austro-Hungarian reign, that is somewhat similar to the actual gesture.
  • In Bulgaria the bent hand is sometimes used to form a facepalm when performing this gesture, expressing strong disappointment, or mocking a failure.
  • In England, the gesture is sometimes known as "Under The Arm", due to the way it is performed. It is also known as an "The Pits"
  • In the United States, the gesture is known as "The Arm" or as the "Italian salute."

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the musical West Side Story, performances of the song "Gee, Officer Krupke" end with the entire Jets gang giving the audience the bras d'honneur while singing the final line.
  • In the film adaptation of the musical Grease, Rizzo makes this gesture towards Vince Fontaine after being eliminated from the dance contest.
  • In the movie Poltergeist, Dana Freeling makes a big show of giving a bras d'honneur with a raised middle finger to a group of workmen.
  • In the movie Spaceballs, the Spaceballs' salute involves giving the bras d'honneur and then opening the fist to wave at the salutee.
  • In the movie Midnight Cowboy, the character Enrico Salvatore (played by Dustin Hoffman) gives a taxi driver the gesture during a famous scene while crossing the road.
  • In the film Major League, the team gives a synchronized bras d'honneur to Rachael Phelps behind her back in the locker room after she calls them pansies. The gesture is then transitioned into a cross arm to hide it when she turns around.
  • In the James Bond movie GoldenEye, Irina (Minnie Driver), the woman who is singing Stand By Your Man rather badly, makes this gesture to Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane) when he tells her to "take a hike", after Bond (Pierce Brosnan) remarks, "Who's strangling the cat?"
  • The cover of the Jethro Tull album Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die! depicts the gesture.
  • In Jaws, Matt Hooper gives Quint the bras d' honneur after he tells Hooper, "Well it proves one thing Mr. Hooper. It proves that you wealthy college boys don't have the education enough to admit when you're wrong."


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