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 Romanic Europe (Italy, France, Portugal, Spain), Latin America, Russia, Poland, Croatia, Turkey, Georgia, Ireland and in parts of Scotland. 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).

International nomenclature[edit]

  • 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 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."[3]
  • Portugal has a similar term, "manguito". It is also the most characteristic gesture performed by the Portuguese everyman "Zé Povinho". [3]
  • In most Spanish-speaking countries, the gesture is known as "corte de manga(s)" ("sleeve-cut"), with the same insulting meaning.
  • 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", an insult directed towards the mother of the offended (commonly accompanied by the phrase "chinga tu madre", "fuck your mother"), though it is done with a single hand.
  • 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 just 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: "fuck 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 musical ’’Rent’’ during “La Vie Boheme” the ‘’ bras d’honneur’’ is made after singing the line: “Why Dorthoy and Toto went over the rainbow, to blow off Auntie Em!”
  • 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 the famous "I'm walking here!" 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?"
  • In the Christmas comedy Jingle All the Way, Myron (Sinbad) - having dressed up as a villainous character at a Christmas parade - gives the gesture to some of the booing audience and tells them to "Shut up!", causing one of the TV commentators to question if that was a part of the script.
  • 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 comedy film DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, Derek (a mean person who is a part of the cheerleading squad with Amber) performs the gesture to Justin due to the latter's infatuation with Amber.
  • 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.
  • In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, an updated version of Mario Kart 8 for the Nintendo Switch, the Inkling Girl character from Splatoon—one of the characters new to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe—made this gesture when taunting nearby opponents that have been successfully hit with items. On May 17, 2017, this was removed and replaced with a simple fist pump in the version 1.1 update, when Nintendo discovered that the bras d'honneur was an obscene gesture in parts of Europe.[5]
  • In the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Ryder gives the bras d'honneur just before his death.
  • In the video game Grand Theft Auto V, Franklin gives Trevor the bras d'honneur after a brief argument with Denise.
  • In the action-adventure stealth game Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Eva performs, what appears to be, this gesture to Colonel Volgin in the cutscene leading up to the final phase of the battle against the Shagohod.
  • Despite the character being American, Jean-Claude Van Damme delivers a bras d'honneur to Bison in Street Fighter (1994 film).
  • In the 1981 film Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, The Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence) performs this gesture after dropping a fire bomb during the films climactic chase scene.
  • In the Japanese version of the video game Super Mario RPG, the character (Bowser) can be seen making the gesture as his victory animation. This animation was removed from the western release possibly because it was deemed too offensive.
  • In the BBC television series Red Dwarf Arnold Rimmer gives the bras d'honneur multiple times throughout the series, most notably in the episode "Me²".

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