In A Feast for Crows, Cat of the Canals works in the fish markets in Braavos. She is taught and has to be very rugged because of the nature of the place - being filled with sailors and rugged men so on.

She learns to show people 'the fig' which is described as some sort of rude hand gesture; I'm assuming that it's the rude finger.

Some details: [A Feast for Crows spoilers]

Cat is actually Arya Stark
Here are a couple of excerpts from the book.

"... a coarse jumble of words and phrases from a dozen languages, accompanied by hand signs and gestures, most of them insulting. Those were the ones that Cat liked best. Any man who bothered her was apt to see the fig ..."
"... They bought clams and cockles from her, told her true tales of Braavos and lies about their lives, and laughed at the way she talked when she tried to speak Braavosi. She never let that trouble her. Instead, she showed them all the fig ..."
-A Song of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows, Cat of the Canals.

Some information I have found is:

Is this correct? What does 'the fig' hand gesture look like?


"The Fig" is a rude hand gesture, similar to giving someone the finger. It is made by making a fist, with the thumb protruding from between the index and the middle finger. The hand is held in roughly the same position as when giving the finger.

Depending on the region and the context, it can be taken as reference to the female genitalia (a female equivalent to "the finger") or to (a desire to engage in) sexual intercourse.

A picture of the fig sign, by Jeremy Kemp
A picture of the fig sign, by Jeremy Kemp

It's weird that it's described as being used in southern Europe, since it's actually not that uncommon in The Netherlands, usually with the second meaning.

  • I always thought it was supposed to be the head of a penis emerging from the foreskin?! That's what my History teacher always said, anyway... – John Smith Optional Jun 19 '14 at 22:33
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    Stop, thief! That girl has stolen a man's nose! (makes note to never play "got your nose" in southern Europe) – user568458 Jan 21 '16 at 15:11
  • Funny, but in eastern Europe and Russia this gesture is not very rude - it is more similar to saying "Bite me!" or poking a tongue at someone. Its usage has faded now. – Yasskier Jan 21 '16 at 19:42

"The Fig" is a very rude hand gesture, equivalent to the American "Finger", in many countries (especially Greece).

Here's a Wiki link.

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    I'm in Greece 22 years and I've honestly never seen anyone use this thing :P – Shevliaskovic Jun 15 '14 at 22:41
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    Well, that's what Wiki says, anyway. Maybe you just haven't ticked anyone off that much? – Joe L. Jun 15 '14 at 23:16
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    Possibly better link; more specific to the 'Fig.' – K-H-W Jun 16 '14 at 4:28
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    Donno about Greece but it's incredibly widely used in Russia/fUSSR – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 16 '14 at 5:57
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    @Shevliaskovic: that’s because you’re nice to everyone! – Paul D. Waite Jan 21 '16 at 14:19

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