Re: Origins of the Peace (Victory) sign

Mark Bunster (
Mon, 24 Jun 1996 11:55:00 -0400

>In the sixties I used to get flashed the Peace sign ( V as in victory
>not the drawn one ) when I was riding my motorcycle. I never thought
>about how it got adapted from the V - Victory sign of my fathers
>generation to the symbol of Hi/Peace in the sixties. Does anyone know
>how/when/whom started to use it that way?

I couldn't be more sure that someone has more thorough information than I on
this, but I seem to remember the "V' for victory as being British in origin,
and executed in the same way as the peace sign--that is, index and middle
fingers up by themselves, palm facing the receiver. This is distinctly
different from the opposite position (palm facing the sign-giver), which in
Britain is a somewhat less friendly statement, one that uh, offers an
invitation to give oneself "free love." To punctuate this expression, it's
usually delivered in an upward motion, much like the American equivalent
that features the middle finger by itself, delivered emphatically with the
opposite hand slapped onto the crook of the arm, as the arm makes a right

As far as I know, none of these gestures are officially part of the American
Sign Language. :-)

Mark Bunster * Was it an idea whose time
mbunster@saturn * had come?
Survey Research Lab * Or did it just seem
Va. Commonwealth U. * like a good idea at the time?
Richmond, VA 23284 * -Ubu