An ironic twist
"V for victory, dot dot dot dash Hitler lost his little mustache If you find it, let him know And he'll give you lots of dough"
Sometimes, a character, feeling victorious and all, just feels like yelling "VICTORY!", or busting a few moves.
But for one reason or another, they want a less ostentatious method to celebrate. In that case, they stick their middle and index fingers upwards, as if forming the letter "V". Sometimes, they'll do it with some exclamation, but not necessarily.
In Japan, the V sign can also signify that the person making it is being photographed. This pops up in anime quite a bit, sometimes accompanied by the character saying "V". May have been popularized as a result of the occupation after WWII.
In the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries, when done with the palm facing inward, it is an offensive gesture— slightly less offensive than Flipping the Bird
in the United States—sometimes known as "throwing the deuces" or "[flipping/flicking] [off] Vs".
During World War II
, Winston Churchill
popularised its use as a "Victory" sign (for V as in victory) initially with palm inwards and later (once informed that inward was offensive) in the war palm outwards. (This would later lead to a frequently used joke about the result of World War II
being due to Hitler always choosing paper
The palm-facing-outward version of the sign has also been used to mean "peace", especially by the 1960s/1970s counter-culture.
Contrary to popular belief, the "palm-inwards" version has nothing to do with medieval English (or Welsh, depending on the story) archers showing defiance. Maybe. Nobody really knows for sure, but it'd be cool if it was true.
A form of Crazy Cultural Comparison
. Compare Victory Pose
and Happy Dance
, where someone wants to be a bit more showy with their celebration. For the single-finger version, see Flipping the Bird
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Anime and Manga
- Inverted in V for Vendetta. The title pretty much says it all, but more specifically, the mockery of "V for Victory" is an underlying theme.
- In an issue of The Invaders, a Marvel Universe Retcon World War II Comic Book, a character's hand doing this is The Reveal that he's Sir Winston Churchill. Except that we (and the other characters) are seeing him from behind, so...
- In Warren Ellis' Crecy the main character is an archer who does this at the end of the book. This refers to the urban legend that the offensive V-sign came from the French cutting off the fingers of captured English longbowmen.
- In Mark Millar's first arc on The Authority, the Engineer flashes the palm-inward version as an Expy of The Incredible Hulk exploded in space.
- In "Astérix in Britain" Notax makes the V-sign after the Britons defeat the Romans alongside Asterix and Obelix.
- Very frequent in Peter Kuper's Spy vs. Spy comics: many times, when one of the spies is killed, the other flashes the V while laughing and triggering the death trap.
- Haruhi and Sakanaka to each other in Kyon Big Damn Hero as a symbol of victory, after Kyon and Haruhi return from a Student Council session discussing the fight between Kyon and Ryuugu Ryo earlier that day (Kyon acted in defense of a schoolmate). They decided not punishing nor rewarding Kyon for that.
- On the poster for the film Victory◊ (aka Escape to Victory) Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, and Pelé jointly make the "V" sign with their bodies. It's also used at the end of the film.
- In Forrest Gump, Jenny gives it to Forrest before he leaves for Vietnam.
- The logo used by the back-in-business Ghostbusters in Ghostbusters II has the ghost making a "V" sign, which serves the dual purpose of being a Take That to the authorities that shut them down and denoting that it is the second movie in the franchise.
- In the second Hellboy movie, one of the confiscated pictures Manning has of Hellboy is of him flashing the V Sign at the camera. He presents it with an exasperated "He posed for this one."
- Tony Stark from Iron Man does this all the time, for some reason.
- Used in the poster image for the film Mash.
- The character Didactylos in Small Gods refers both to the offensive version of the V sign ("two fingers") and to the word "didactic". (Ephebe is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of classical Athens.)
- Ron Weasley from Harry Potter is heavily implied to do the rude version in one scene, as his mother threatens to jinx his fingers together if she sees it again.
- The miniseries V was named after this trope. The oldest Bernstein family member, a Holocaust survivor, teaches some kids in the streets the meaning and sprays the Visitors' propaganda posters with the symbol.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike does the palm-inward version and the WB censors not only let it through, they let it on the opening credits after that.
- Rescue Sentai GoGoFive had a V logo in a lot of places. Of course, it's hard to know if V means victory or roman numeral 5 (possibly both... in which case the name means Five Five Five. Which is Japan's 911, befitting the Rescue theme and making it possibly the most multi-layered sentai name pun ever.)
- In Mahou Sentai Magiranger/Power Rangers Mystic Force, the Pink Ranger's V-sign becomes a plot point (showing the others that she's only pretending to still be brainwashed. In the sentai version she continues to flash the sign every so often, while her power rangers counterpart drops it.) Perhaps due to the prevalence of the Five-Man Band, the V sign shows up in many series of both versions.
- In The Thick of It Malcolm flicks the offensive version to the journalists who gather outside his house after his sacking. He flicks another naughty V at Olly for not answering his phone.
- X Factor judge Louis Walsh got into trouble for flicking a V at the audience during one of the live finals.
- The Goodies create a Winston Churchill robot, who is seen in a newsreel giving the "Up Yours" sign to the troops before Graeme quickly turns his hand around.
- Early in its run, EastEnders managed to achieve notoriety after ending an episode on the palm-back variety.
- A Blackadder◊ met Winston Churchill whilst he was doing this. He took it wrong.
- In one early episode of How I Met Your Mother, a suit asked young Barney Stinson to high five. Barney replies he only gives high two's, and shows him this V gesture.
- In the Farscape episode "Look At The Princess", Crichton mimicks the Nixon double-peace sign before he is about to be turned into a living statue to commemorate his marriage into a royal family.note
- Jeff Jarrett throws up the V Sign with both hands at the end of his version of the Fargo Strut.
- This was pretty much the justification behind Nelson Frazier, Jr.'s gimmick when he became Big Daddy V (the "V" stood for "Victory," although it had originally stood for "Viscera").
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: "Worm Victory" is giving the "V for Victory" with all six of its hands in its card artwork.It even does this when it's a part of Evilswarm Az(z)athoth.
- In Wild ARMs 2, after beating the boss in her prologue, Lilka Eleniak strikes this pose.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- Wario typically has his own versions of this: he holds up two Vs (overlapping them to make "W") or (as in Super Smash Bros. Brawl) he holds up three fingers (again, to represent "W").
- EarthBound: Ness does it whenever he gets his picture taken by the Recurring Traveler photographer.
- Street Fighter series:
- This is Chun-Li's Victory Pose in the "YATTA!"
- Cammy is making this gesture in the iconic poster of her.
- The box art of Left 4 Dead 2 has the palm-inward version; predictably, the UK version has a outward hand instead.
- Kid Ryu does this when catching a fish in Breath of Fire III.
- Pokémon Black and White: Victini is based around this.
- "V for peace" - the irony of the 'V for Victory' also representing 'peace' - is a recurring Motif in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. So is the palm-inward version, which is used symbolically by the villains and by Snake when he decides to abandon his old ideals. The characters do just about everything the gesture can mean - holding it up to represent the two things required for nuclear deterrence, transforming the singular pointing finger (pressing the nuclear button) into the peace sign, even 'walking' two fingers along a surface to represent legs...
- The boss Kunino-sagiri in Persona 4 weaponizes the peace sign. His physical attack involves thrusting out his hand in this pose, and he flashes twin peace signs when he uses his "Unerring Justice" attack. He also has a halo that consists of several Y-shaped peace signs. Kunino-sagiri is the Shadow of Taro Namatame, who has developed a messiah complex after spending the game abducting people and hurling them into the TV world under the mistaken belief that he's rescuing them from a serial killer.
- In Mirror's Edge, Faith can do the offensive version. There's an achievement for doing it in front of an enemy.
- Cream does this in Sonic Advance 3.
- Pit flashes one after defeating Hades in Kid Icarus: Uprising.
- Brutal Legend features the flip-off version being used by the Killmaster and the Guardian of Metal. Justified, since they are based on (and played by) real people who have been known to do the same thing from time to time.
- Lollipop Chainsaw has the boss Marishka, who's effectively the zombie embodiment of the 1960s. As such, she really likes making these.
- This installment of Friday 4 Koma plays with the double meaning of the palm-facing-outward V sign.
- In Chimneyspeak, Elgie gives the palm-inward version to Chelsea when she invites him to come with her on her quest to overthrow England's rulers.
- Commonly used at the end of Wartime Cartoons. Often accompanied by the opening phrase of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which was used to represent V in Morse code (dot-dot-dot-dash).
- Starfire of Teen Titans does this once.
- Parodied in an episode of Total Drama Action, where Izzy does the V sign... before she gets eliminated the second time.
- The Venture Bros. tend to do this at inappropriate moments whilst shouting, "Go team Venture!"
- Apparently, Sir Winston Churchill did do it the wrong way around initially, until someone told him what it meant to the working classes. In fact he did it both ways round, arbitrarily at different times. It's been suggested that he knew what it meant, and had Hitler in mind when he made the gesture...
- Richard Nixon, as seen in the picture above. Oddly used in that he did so after resigning from the Presidency rather than face impeachment due to Watergate.
- George H.W. Bush faced his hand the wrong way doing this while on a state visit to Australia during his presidency.
- The overuse of the victory gesture (and, somehow, Vangelis' Conquest of Paradise) by the guys who took power in Madagascar in 2009 has led to massive contentions - do it in front of the right people and you'll be smiled at. Do it in front of the wrong people and you'll eat knuckle sandwich (if lucky).
- This pose is so popular in Japan it's been suggested (in jest) that Japanese women have a genetic predisposition to striking this pose if a camera is pointed at them. In what's probably a Hype Backlash, a Memetic Mutation combines this with Ahegao note , thus associating the pose itself with sluttiness.
- Baroness Trumpington showed exactly how much she appreciated being described as looking old in the House of Lords.