Believe it or not, this “symbol” originated during the conflicts between the French and British during the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. When captured by the French, the British Longbow archers would often have the first and second fingers of their bow hand cut off, to prevent them from using their longbows. Those who did not suffer such a fate would hold up these two fingers as an act of defiance just prior to a battle. The two fingered version of this symbol is still used in Britain to this day. This gesture was reduced to just the one finger when it came across the sea to the New World.