Romeo and Juliet Glossary Nay, as they dare and bite my thumb (1.1)
Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them. (31)
Nay, as they dare, don't say 'as they please,' but rather
'as they dare.' Sampson throughout the dialogue is the greater
blusterer: bite my thumb, an insulting gesture. Singer quotes Cotgrave: "Faire la nique: to mocke by nodding or lifting up
the chinne; or more properly, to threaten or defie, by putting the thumbe naile into the mouth, and with a jerke (from the upper teeth) make it to knacke." An Italian custom intended to provoke
Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Ed. K. Deighton. New York: MacMillan and Co., 1903. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/romeoandjuliet/romeoglossnay.html >.