The term "digitus infamis" refers to the "infamous finger" or "shameful finger" in Latin. While it is often associated with the middle finger gesture, the specific historical use and origin of the term "digitus infamis" are not as well-documented as the middle finger gesture itself.
The term "digitus infamis" has been mentioned in ancient Roman texts, but the exact context and meaning can vary. It is believed to have been used to refer to a gesture involving the thumb rather than the middle finger. However, the details of this gesture are not entirely clear and may have differed from the modern understanding of the middle finger gesture.
In ancient Rome, the thumb was considered a symbol of approval or acceptance, while the other fingers, particularly the index finger, could be used to point or accuse. The "digitus infamis" may have referred to a gesture involving the thumb placed between the index and middle fingers, possibly as a form of insult or accusation.
However, due to the limited surviving information, the exact historical use and meaning of the "digitus infamis" gesture remain somewhat uncertain and open to interpretation. It's important to note that the term "digitus infamis" is not commonly used in contemporary discussions of hand gestures, and the middle finger gesture is generally referred to as the "digitus impudicus" or simply the middle finger gesture.
The middle finger gesture, as discussed earlier, has a more documented and recognized history across different cultures, from ancient Greece and Rome to the present day. Its use as an offensive or defiant gesture has evolved over time, gaining different meanings and associations in various historical periods and cultural contexts.