Bras d'honneur

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Bras d'honneur

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 make the gesture, an arm is bent in an L-shape, with the fist pointing upwards; the other hand then grips the biceps of the bent arm as it is emphatically raised to a vertical position. It has the same meaning as giving the finger (known as le doigt d'honneur), though it frequently connotes the expression "Up yours!" Occasionally, the middle finger of the bent arm is also raised for added 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."[2]
  • In most Spanish-speaking countries, the gesture is known as "corte de manga(s)" ("sleeve-cut"), with the same insulting meaning.
  • Portugal has a similar term, "manguito". It is also the most characteristic gesture performed by the Portuguese everyman "Zé Povinho". [2]
  • In Catalonia the gesture is called a "botifarra", the name of a local sausage speciality.
  • In Colombia the gesture has the function of replacing the raised middle finger, meaning "jódete" or "friégate".
  • 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.[3]
  • 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.[4] 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 Turkey the gesture is called a "kol" which literally means arm. It has an insulting meaning.
  • In the United States, the gesture is known as "The Arm" or as the "Italian salute."
  • In Malta, this implies a maternal insult: "f*** your mother".

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the comedy film Monty Python's Life of Brian, an old man is supposed to fight a professional gladiator, but instead keeps running around the arena. The gladiator dies of a heart disease and the old man keeps running, makes victorious gestures, then kneels and gives the local Roman authorities the bras d'honneur.
  • 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 the film 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."
  • In the film "(Mean Girls)", when Cady Heron waves at Janis Ian, Janis responds by waving back which then turns into a Bras d'honneur.
  • During the song "Good Night and Thank You" in the musical Evita, the narrator Che dismisses each of Eva's early lovers by singing, "Which means…." and making the bras d'honneur gesture.


External links[edit]