Getting a tattoo is super exciting, but with so many options available, it can be overwhelming, particularly if you don’t know what to get.
One great way to start your tattoo journey is by choosing something that is personally significant to you. Of course, getting a tattoo for its aesthetics is completely valid too!
Having tattoos that are meaningful can be like an added bonus.
To help you in your search for tattoos that are meaningful, we’ve compiled a list of popular tattoo designs along with their respective meanings.
Tattoo Meanings A-Z
Ace of Spades Tattoo Meanings
The Ace of Spades is one of the most significant cards in the majority of card games. Due to its importance, the symbol of the Ace of Spades is often used in tattoos as a sign of luck.
During WWII, soldiers printed this symbol on their helmets.
However, during the Vietnam War, this symbol was used in the opposite way as a sign of psychological terror, since in Vietnamese culture, the card is associated with bad luck and death.
Some other meanings of the Ace of Spades tattoo include:
- Good Luck
The all-seeing eye has deep roots in ancient history, but it has been used and interpreted by various groups throughout history, leading to different meanings today. An all-seeing eye tattoo design can represent any of the following:
- The omnipresence of gods, as well as a symbol of divine providence.
- A sign of wisdom
- A symbol of power and control, due to its close association with masonry symbolism.
Anchor Tattoo Meaning
The anchor is a widespread, highly popular tattoo sign around the world, and many people love to have it. It is a simple element, showing various meanings including:
The anchor element is also a sign of religious matters. Apart from that, it can also symbolize the strength of the wearer in their faith, as well as a reminder to stay brave and firm against the ups and downs of life.
Angel Tattoo Meanings
Throughout history, angels have been a central figure in culture and art, representing something beyond the limitations of mortal life.
- Angels are often seen as messengers between humans and the divine, or as protectors and guardians.
- In Christian cultures, angels can be a symbol of faith and represent a connection to a higher power.
- For many people, an angel tattoo can represent the memory of a lost loved one who is now watching over them and protecting them from above.
Anime/Manga Tattoo Meanings
Anime tattoos have been gaining popularity in recent years due to their simplicity and unique style. Anime is a type of Japanese animation, created either by hand-drawn or computer-generated techniques.
Popular anime shows like Dragon Ball, Naruto, and One Piece have made their way into Western cultures.
While the term “anime” encompasses all forms of animated films worldwide in Japan, in the West, it specifically refers to movies animated in Japan.
- People get anime tattoos for various reasons, including their love for a particular show or as a symbol of belonging to a certain group like cosplay enthusiasts or Japanese culture fans.
Ankh Tattoo Meanings
The Ankh is one of the most widely used Egyptian tattoo designs globally for several reasons. It has a unique shape and represents various meanings, including the following ones:
- It is an Egyptian symbol of love and life.
- The Ankh is a hieroglyph and a part of their written language.
- The Ankh is a symbol of fertility associated with the knot of Isis who is a strong maternal figure.
- It is a symbol of the life cycle.
- The Ankh is a representation of longevity and all of the things commonly desired in life, including peace and prosperity.
- It is a symbol of the afterworld life.
Anubis Tattoo Meaning
Anubis is the Egyptian God of death and the afterlife, who is usually depicted with a black canine head.
Anubis as a design can be used to remind the wearer that death is omnipresent and that you should be good in your life, lest you be judged when you eventually pass.
Some people however choose to use Anubis to represent protection, as Anubis may keep you safe from the underworld until it is truly your time.
Armband Tattoo Meaning
An armband is a relatively vague concept, so there is a lot of variation on what you can do with it, and thus what it means.
A solid black armband tattoo can be used to represent a loss of a loved one and the period of morning that goes along with it. The tattoo can also be used to symbolize luck and strength, while often being used to accentuate the muscles of the person wearing it.
There are also variations of an armband that have more tribal designs.
People often draw from Polynesian cultures when designing armband tattoos, as that culture has a deep history of tattooing their warriors and thus the theme of strength is encouraged.
Arrow Tattoo Meanings
Because of their popularity and prevalence in many cultures throughout the world, arrows are largely symbolic and can have many meanings.
- In Native Americans, an arrow was a symbol of alliance while a broken arrow was a symbol of peace.
- For some, an arrow tattoo symbolizes having a set path and a strong sense of purpose — knowing how to get through life.
- Finally, because of Cupid and other related myths, arrows sometimes symbolize love and passion, especially when paired with a heart.
An arrow tattoo can have many meanings, but most likely as a symbol of strength and love.
Barbed Wire Tattoo Meanings
For many years, the barbed wire tattoo design has been strongly linked with prisons, representing the experience of being incarcerated. However, there are other meanings that can be associated with the tattoo as well.
- Barbed wire tattoo is believed to have Italian roots, as the Italians wore it to show the time they have been behind the bars. The spikes on a barbed wire tattoo mainly show the number of years one has spent in prison.
- In Christianity, the barbed wire tattoo may represent Jesus, Christianity, hope, or faith. It represents the Crown of Thorns, which Jesus wore when he was crucified.
- A symbol of strength, power, authority, hardships, and struggles.
- A symbol of courage and bravery, due to its close association with WWI as well as the Crown of Thorns. In one, soldiers, and in another, Jesus, experienced horrific actions and they all died for their beliefs.
Bat Tattoo Meanings
Bats have a bad reputation in popular culture, often associated with darkness, witches, and vampires. However, this view is not entirely accurate. Bat tattoos can have various meanings, such as:
- In Chinese culture, bats are symbols of good luck, wealth, and prosperity, representing a long and happy life.
- Native Americans see bats as symbols of rebirth and renewal, linked to their ability to hibernate and emerge again.
- Some cultures believe that bats represent the souls of the dead, such as the Malagasy who view them as the souls of criminals.
Bear Tattoo Meanings
According to ancient stories, bear clans have existed for many thousands of years, making the symbolism of bears one of the oldest. The most common meanings associated with bear tattoos include:
- Native Americans know bears as the keepers of dreams, probably since bears hibernate once a year.
- Vikings knew bears as a symbol of strength and fury. They usually wore bear skins and eat hallucinogenic mushrooms to prepare for battles.
- In various cultures, bears are considered to be noble animals with human-like characteristics.
- A symbol of protection: bears show ferocity when protecting their cubs.
Bees Tattoo Meanings
Bees, despite making some people uncomfortable, are important creatures that benefit our world in many ways, especially by pollinating flowers and producing honey. Because of their significance, bee tattoos have become increasingly popular, often representing:
- Hard work and productivity
- Cooperation and community
- Sweetness and love
- Loyalty and devotion
- Nature and the environment
In some ancient cultures, bees were seen as messengers to and from the gods, which made them associated with wisdom, intelligence, and eloquence.
Bella Poarch Tattoo Meanings
Bella Poarch is a famous TikTok star who was born in 2001 and is now a singer and social media personality with millions of followers. Her body is covered in tattoos. On her chest, she has tattooed a verse from the bible, which says “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.” The message lying in this verse is obvious, encouraging people to embrace love fearlessly.
One of Bella Poarch’s tattoos got her into trouble recently. She had tattooed a sign that resembled the Rising Sun design, and it made some of her followers upset, forcing her to remove the tattoo and apologize officially.
In Japanese culture, the Rising Sun is the sign of the Japanese national flag. However, many Koreans find it offensive and know it as a symbol of Japanese militarism and colonial rule. Bella declared that she did not know the history, and promised to remove the tattoo.
Bella also has another tattoo on her back: a huge ship with feathered wings, reaching across to her arms. Additionally, she has a bow on the back of both of her thighs.
Bird Tattoo Meanings
It is needless to say that birds are among the best tattoo elements if you tend to convey the meaning of freedom. Despite that, the reason for their high reputation in modern cultures is that birds have various shapes, colors, and sizes, making them adaptable to numerous personalities.
In general, birds on a tattoo can represent these meanings:
- Liberation (from a traumatic experience)
- Overcoming an oppressing situation
Black Widow Tattoo Meanings
A black widow tattoo can have different meanings depending on where it’s placed on the body. However, the most important meaning behind this tattoo is strength, particularly the strength of women. The reason for this is the way female black widow spiders behave when mating.
Women around the world often get this tattoo to show that they are not to be messed with.
Men in prison also tend to get spider and web tattoos, including the black widow design, which signifies that they are behind bars.
Furthermore, black widow tattoos can also represent fear and death because spiders are often associated with darkness. People who love horror movies may choose this design more often.
Black Rose Tattoo Meanings
Black rose tattoos are often used to express feelings of sadness, grief, and mourning. They can be a way of remembering a loved one or an important person who has passed away. The tattoo serves as a reminder of the loss, while also providing the wearer with hope for a better future.
In addition to representing a physical death, a black rose tattoo can also symbolize the end of a relationship, a close friendship, or a specific phase of life.
Regardless of the loss, the tattoo is meant to inspire strength and positivity in the wearer so they can move forward and overcome the difficult time.
Ultimately, a black rose tattoo can be a meaningful and powerful way to express emotions and honor the memories of those who have been lost.
Blue Rose Tattoo Meanings
The main things that a blue rose tattoo symbolizes involve mystery and things that are impossible and unattainable. Also, a blue rose tattoo can depict meanings like unique things and the concept of fantasy, because a blue rose is a scarce flower in reality.
The truth is that there is no blue rose in nature. However, florists and flower farms can dye and cultivate blue roses through genetic modification. It is due to this scarcity that the blue rose is considered an “impossible-to-exist” flower, making it a perfect choice to convey mysterious meanings.
Bull Dog Tattoo Meanings
The bulldog is a popular image that represents national pride and heritage in England and the United Kingdom.
- It’s often associated with famous figures like Winston Churchill and the country’s resistance against Nazi Germany.
- In addition, the bulldog is also linked to the United States and its military, and is commonly used as a symbol for sports teams.
Bull Skull Tattoo Meanings
The symbol of a bull skull is widely used in Texas and the Western United States.
In Native American and Mexican art, the bull skull symbolizes protection from all elements. Even now, the characteristics of bulls are widely seen in this tattoo sign, including bravery, tenacity, and agility.
The beautiful shading on the skull head is what puts these tattoos apart from others.
Bulls are most of the time used in sport-related fields as they can show the powerful spirit of battling.
The symbol can also represent harmony, power, strength, protection, and fearlessness. Some other closely-related meanings of a bull skull tattoo include:
- Western life
Butterfly Tattoo Meanings
Butterflies have always been a popular choice for tattoos, mainly due to their mystical and beautiful qualities, as well as their ability to undergo a complete transformation.
With their wide variety of shapes and colors, butterflies have an undeniable visual appeal, which is why they remain a popular choice.
A butterfly tattoo often represents someone who has overcome a negative experience or trauma in their life, just like a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. The tattoo serves as a reminder that they can overcome challenges and emerge as a stronger and more beautiful person, just as a butterfly does.
Overall, a butterfly tattoo is not only visually appealing but also meaningful, representing the power of personal growth and transformation.
See our article on butterfly tattoos and their meanings for more details about this delicate insect and its symbolism.
Candles Tattoo Meanings
Candles have been a popular tattoo design for a long time, and they hold different meanings across cultures.
- For some, a tattoo of a candle represents finding one’s way in the darkness or providing light during difficult times.
- In the past, candles were essential for sailors and explorers to navigate their way and were considered powerful symbols.
- Candles are also associated with religious practices and sacred places, representing spirituality.
Cat Tattoo Meanings
Cats have always been a popular theme in tattooing due to their prominence in folklore and mythology. Some people may choose to get a cat tattoo as a way to remember a beloved pet that has passed away.
Cat tattoos can have various meanings, including:
- A symbol of good luck, as cats were historically kept on ships to control rat populations and prevent the spread of disease.
- A representation of a cat’s unique personality traits, which can be perceived as both positive (graceful, comical) and negative (mischievous, skittish), making it an appealing choice for different personalities.
Cherry Tattoo Meanings
Cherry tattoos have a lot of different meanings, but they are most commonly associated with sexuality and virginity. Other meanings include: love, innocence, purity, and youth.
Cherry tattoos can also symbolize willingness, sweetness, freshness, morality, and luxury.
While it has been associated with a sexual meaning for a long time, it doesn’t always have to be that way.
Many people choose this tattoo to celebrate their own sexuality or to express their love for someone. Ultimately, the meaning of a cherry tattoo can be very personal and can represent different things to different people.
Cherry Blossom Tattoo
Cherry blossoms are a striking and delicate symbol of spring, femininity, and the beauty of life. They remind us that life is short, urging us to cherish every moment.
Cherry blossom tattoos can evoke both femininity and sensuality, as well as a sense of dominance and sexuality.
In Buddhism, living in the present moment is highly valued, and the cherry blossom, with its fleeting but sweet existence, has come to represent this essential philosophy.
Chin Stripe Tattoo Meanings
Chin stripe tattoos have a historical connection to tribal cultures. The Innuit Alaskans are one such culture that believed these tattoos held a deep spiritual significance. This was due to the belief that the body served as a vessel for the soul, and death would set it free.
The design was also considered a form of protection from enemies, making it a popular choice as a good luck charm.
Another meaning associated with the chin stripe tattoo is the representation of maturity and growth throughout one’s life. This is because the tattoo was also used to signify the transition into puberty.
Overall, the chin stripe tattoo holds multiple meanings that can vary based on culture and individual interpretation.
Church Tattoo Meanings
A church tattoo can hold different meanings for people.
- It can represent spiritual beliefs and be a symbol of God’s presence, worship, and community.
- On the other hand, it can also be a tribute to a loved one who has passed away and may hold significance as a place related to the person or the deceased.
- In Russia’s prison system, a church tattoo can represent time served and completion of a sentence. The spires on the tattoo indicate the number of years served or the times in prison. A cross may be added to the top after serving the sentence, or a fortress or mosque may replace the church.
Clock Tattoo Meanings
Clock tattoos can hold a variety of meanings, which can differ depending on the person getting the tattoo. Each individual may have their own unique interpretation of the symbolism behind clocks, and may choose a clock tattoo design based on their personal beliefs and experiences.
Here are some of the most popular meanings associated with clock tattoos:
- Time: this is the primary meaning behind a clock tattoo. It shows that the definition of time is highly meaningful to the wearer and they tend to make enough time to spend with their loved ones.
- Life and Death: clocks remind us of the fact that time cannot be stopped, controlled, or manipulated. It just moves on and shows the never-ending cycle of life and death.
- Patience: a clock tattoo symbolizes the fact that good things take time to happen. It motivates you to push forward and make good choices in order to achieve victory.
- Healing: clock tattoos can also convey the meaning that time can heal everything, especially for those who have recently gotten over some hardships in their lives.
Compass Tattoo Meanings
Compass designs have long been popular in tattoo culture, particularly among sailors.
The compass tattoo can symbolize the search for guidance in life, with the belief that the north star will lead them through the difficult times. The compass can also represent a desire for exploration and a willingness to venture into the unknown, much like the old explorers who relied on a compass and the stars to navigate new and exciting territories.
Crescent Moon Tattoo Meanings
The crescent moon is a popular tattoo choice for those who are fascinated by the celestial body and the night sky. The symbol has various meanings and can represent a range of interests and beliefs.
Generally, the crescent moon is associated with motherhood and fertility, as well as growth, creativity, and manifestation.
The tattoo can hold different meanings for different people and may be relevant to various phases of life, new beginnings, and fresh starts. However, some people may choose the crescent moon tattoo simply because they like the way it looks, regardless of its deeper significance.
Crow Tattoo Meanings
When thinking about crows, ominous things such as bad luck might cross your mind. That is a general belief.
However, crows can be symbols of positive matters too.
Crows are widely known as intelligent birds in countless cultures, have a close bond with magic and life mysteries, and are mostly considered the guardians of the sacred and ancient law.
Using a crow design in tattooing can have different meanings:
- Crows are cautious birds with sharp and strong foresight, symbolizing the people who have a strong vision and firm motivation to thrive in their lives.
- Crows symbolize change and transformation.
- Native Americans think of crows as signs of good luck, intelligence, and wisdom.
Crown Tattoo Meanings
The crown is considered the most important symbol of nobility. Typically, people combine the crown with other designs to create a unique and personal meaning for themselves.
For example, couples might get matching crown tattoos to show their love for each other and commitment to being the king and queen of their relationship. This highlights how significant their partner is in their lives and their strong, lasting relationship.
– Symbol of the English Monarchy
Another way to use the crown is by combining it with a lion, which is a symbol of the English monarchy. This can represent national pride, English heritage, or the ability to rule one’s own life. By using the crown with a lion, people can show their connection to the English monarchy and what it means to them personally.
Dagger Tattoo Meanings
Daggers can have contradictory meanings in tattooing. While they are small, cold weapons that can be easily concealed, they are also considered very personal weapons.
The person who wields a dagger is expected to be in close proximity to their opponent to fight them.
Given these opposing viewpoints about daggers, using them in a tattoo design can hold different meanings:
- A symbol of courage, as fighting up close and personal with someone can be more intimidating than shooting them from a distance.
- A sign of treachery and deceit, as daggers are often associated with betrayal and trickery.
Daisy Tattoo Meanings
Daisy tattoos can hold various meanings, including innocence and loyalty. The Celts used to see daisies as a symbol of remembrance for those who have passed away, often placing them on graves.
It’s worth noting that the color of the daisy petals can significantly alter the meaning of your tattoo.
For instance, yellow daisy tattoos can symbolize friendship, trust, and joy. Other colors of daisy tattoos and their associated meanings are:
- White daisy: innocence and purity.
- Purple daisy: people who are whimsical and playful.
- Pink daisy: femininity, love of being a woman, as well as gentleness.
- Blue daisy: tranquility and loyalty.
- Red daisy: love and passion.
Dandelion Tattoo Meanings
Dandelions may be seen as a simple weed, but they possess the unique ability to travel far and wide on the breeze, reaching new and unexpected places. This quality has led dandelion tattoos to symbolize hope and the ability to overcome adversity. A little push can help one achieve great things and thrive in even the most hostile environments.
Dandelion tattoos can also represent nostalgia and innocence, as they take people back to the time when they were kids and used to blow on the dandelion to make a wish. This memory evokes the endless possibilities that life seemed to offer during childhood.
Death Moth Tattoo Meanings
The Death Moth is a fictional insect created by author Patricia A. McKillip in her 1974 novel “The Beginning Place.” It represents the moment when two people cross paths but do not yet know each other.
The death moth tattoo, also known as the “Memento Mori” or “Memento Mori Tattoo,” is a symbol that reminds us of our mortality and the transience of all things. It represents enduring pain, but also metamorphosis, transition, and rebirth, as moths emerge from cocoons.
Diamond Tattoo Meanings
Diamonds are created from simple geometric shapes, composed of a series of lines. This minimalistic design makes diamonds excellent symbols to convey powerful meanings, such as love, transformation, commitment, and strength.
The different lines and colors used in a diamond tattoo can significantly impact its meaning. Here are some examples:
- Black diamond: love, commitment, and strength.
- Red diamond: passion and desire.
- Green diamond: overcoming jealousy and envy, as well as natural or organic love.
- White diamond: elegance, love, and commitment.
- Blue diamond: peace, as well as overcoming depression.
- Diamond in a box: wealth and power.
Dice Tattoo Meanings
A pair of dice is a popular symbol of gambling and chance. Often paired with the number 777, it represents those who are willing to let luck decide their fate. Dice can also symbolize change, as rolling the dice can result in a change of fate.
The meaning of dice can vary depending on the value depicted on the dice.
For example, a pair of dice showing two sixes can represent incredible luck and being fortunate in one’s worldly endeavors.
Dove Tattoo Meanings
Doves are typically associated with peace, love, and purity. The dove symbol has a strong connection to Christ and Christianity, often representing a message from God or the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Bible.
Dove tattoos come in various shapes and sizes, and can hold different meanings. Some of these meanings include:
- Peace and positivity, representing an overall sense of calm and tranquility.
- Unwavering love and devotion, with couples getting dove tattoos to symbolize their commitment to staying together for life.
- In Greek mythology, the goddess of love was often depicted riding in a chariot pulled by doves.
- Christians associate doves with Jesus and his message of peace and love.
- Native Americans believe doves played a role in transforming the spirits of the dead.
Dragonflies Tattoo Meanings
Dragonflies eat mosquitos. If that’s not reason enough to commemorate one, here are many more:
- Deep soul expression.
- Profound change.
- Potential revelation and encouragement.
- Self-awareness and perspective.
And again, mosquitos.
Dragon Tattoo Meaning
Dragons are a big deal in cultures all over the world, and they show up a lot in art and stories.
In the Western world, we usually think of them as scary, fire-breathing beasts, but in Japanese culture, they’re more about being wise and strong protectors of people.
In Asia, people believe that dragons have some serious power – they can control and manipulate the universe itself! That’s why you’ll often see pictures of dragons in Buddhist temples. Japanese and Chinese cultures especially love dragons, and they’re even a symbol of sailors who’ve spent time in Asia.
But get this: even in the British Isles, they have stories about dragons! Over there, they see them as a symbol of pride in their country and heritage. Pretty cool, right?
Wanna know more about dragons? Check out our article about dragon tattoos.
Red Dragon Tattoos
A red dragon tattoo may not necessarily indicate a person’s obsession with Dungeons & Dragons.
The dragon has several meanings, and its symbolism varies between eastern and western cultures. It is essential to understand the difference to avoid cultural appropriation.
Western dragons have legs and wings, while the eastern dragons are serpentine and wingless. In the west, dragons are generally depicted as villains, for instance, Smaug in The Hobbit. In contrast, eastern dragons are considered wise and robust. Red dragons, in particular, are masculine and strong and are thought to bring good fortune.
Dreamcatcher Tattoo Meanings
People get dreamcatcher tattoos primarily for protection and safety. Those who wear this tattoo believe that it can save them from bad things, given its historical association with good dreams, repelling bad dreams, and the ability to keep negative spirits and bad omens at bay.
Apart from its protective meaning, dreamcatcher tattoos also serve as a symbol of Native American culture and heritage.
It’s a way to show respect to the culture and its roots, and also to express love for animals such as wolves, horses, bison, and hawks that are associated with Native Americans.
However, not everyone gets a dreamcatcher tattoo for its cultural or symbolic value. Some people simply like the design and colors, and that’s totally okay. So, if you’re drawn to the beauty of a dreamcatcher tattoo, feel free to get one!
Eagle Tattoo Meanings
People often choose to get an eagle tattoo to convey strength and dominance. Eagles are a powerful symbol, representing not only physical strength but also the ability to see things from far away.
In addition to these meanings, an eagle tattoo can represent a variety of other things such as:
- A symbol of wisdom, power, and spiritual health. You can see the eagle design in innumerable cultures and eras.
- Zeus was usually depicted as an eagle. As the God of the Gods, Zeus was a powerful, masculine God and the eagle was supposed to show these meanings.
- In America too, eagles mean power and strength. It is even printed on the constitution and even the dollar bill.
Elephant Tattoo Meaning
Elephant tattoos are universal symbols of strength, loyalty, divinity, and good luck. Other than that, an elephant represents memory, empathy, and compassion.
It is good to know that there is a strong bond between elephants and Buddhism since the Buddha chose a scarce white elephant for his incarnation.
White elephants symbolize wisdom and fertility, making it a perfect choice for maternal tattoos.
Additionally, the elephant is a symbol of both fidelity and royalty, making it lovely for couples who tend to showcase their successful union.
Eye Tattoo Meanings
An eye tattoo may seem basic, but its meaning varies based on the other elements in the design.
For example, if an eye appears inside a pyramid or triangle, it might represent the Illuminati and the idea that this group has significant power over our lives. Alternatively, if a face tattoo includes a third eye, this could indicate that the person has a deep belief in the supernatural and has “opened their third eye” to the truth.
Eye of Horus Tattoo Meanings
The Eye of Horus is a popular, widely used symbol in Egyptian art. It is sometimes referred to as the “Eye of Ra,” and is generally a symbol of protection and good health.
It also symbolizes the idea of being complete and whole, as it represents the many different parts of your life coming together to create the best version of yourself.
Getting this tattoo is a way of enhancing and improving yourself, making it an ideal choice for people who have overcome a tough situation in their life.
Evil Eye Tattoo Meaning
The evil eye is another symbol that hails from ancient Egypt.
The ancient Egyptians believed that an evil eye was a curse, and that it could steal people’s souls.
However, fortune has changed for the evil eye and now people believe that it can be used to protect your soul, and ward of even worse demons that might try to plague you in your life. The evil eye can be combined with other motifs such as a hand or a star to represent a belief in the supernatural, or a stronger form of protection.
Feather Tattoo Meaning
Feathers have been a popular tattoo design element for a long time. Generally, they remind people of lightness and freedom, and often represent birds:
- Freedom of mind
- Freedom of heart
- Our flights throughout the life
- Achieving spiritual enlightenment
Despite their association with lightness and freedom, feathers have also been used to symbolize darker meanings in the past. For instance, Native Americans considered feathers to be spiritual and sacred objects and used them in their rituals. Additionally, the bravest warriors were sometimes awarded eagle feathers and a headdress adorned with feathers as a symbol of their accomplishments.
Forearm Wing Tattoo Meanings
The meaning of a wing tattoo depends on the type of wing that is used. Generally, wings represent strength and freedom because they allow us to fly, creating a sense of boundless possibilities in life.
If someone chooses to use angelic wings in their tattoo design, it could indicate a strong connection with God and have significant religious meaning.
Conversely, if someone gets a demonic wing, it may signify rebellion and a desire to break away from established norms of what is considered right and wrong.
Fox Tattoo Meanings
Fox is symbolic of various meanings around the world in general. Overall, foxes depict power, playfulness, and wisdom. Also in tattooing, foxes symbolize different personality traits:
- Foxes symbolize cunning, wisdom, and mystery.
- Foxes are revered in Asian mythology, especially in China. The Chinese know the fox as a symbol of good luck.
- In Japanese culture, nine-tailed foxes bring good luck, good harvest, and prosperity.
- On the contrary, Norse and Roman mythology know foxes as signs of bad luck or omen. They think foxes are tricksters.
- In the Middle Ages, foxes were supposed to be creatures of the devil and were even burned, because of their curiosity, intelligence, and fearlessness.
Gaara Tattoo Meanings
Gaara is a popular character from the Japanese anime series Naruto.
At the start of the series, Gaara is depicted as a fierce killer, but as the series progresses, he learns to control his strength and develops his powers toward kindness and compassion.
Over time, Gaara has come to symbolize freedom and determination, as he forged his own path and overcame his fate to make the world a better place.
A tattoo of Gaara can also symbolize strength, glory, and good luck. Choosing to get a tattoo of this character demonstrates a deep devotion to the source material and how it has impacted someone’s life.
Grim Reaper Tattoo Meanings
The Grim Reaper tattoo has been designed to represent the meaning of death globally. Although Grim Reaper tattoo or other death-conveying tattoos may seem morbid, they have strong meanings to people:
- A reminder of people’s mortality. Everyone dies and there is no way to change it. Some people wear this tattoo to confront this reality frequently.
- Grim Reaper tattoos are similar in meaning to skulls, skeletons, as well as gravestones tattoos.
- For the ancient Greeks, this symbol was representing the opposition to life.
- Also, it is a sign of an end, a huge change, or transformation in the Tarot.
Hamsa Tattoo Meanings
The Hamsa sign has religious significance and is derived from the Arabic word for “five”, which is Khamsa. It features hands that are believed to represent the hands of God and has been used for hundreds of years, dating back to ancient Mesopotamia and Phoenicia.
- Many people wear the Hamsa sign as a symbol of protection against evil. It holds the same meaning in both Judaism and Islam.
- The sign is also thought to bring good luck to the wearer when the fingers are closed, while open fingers are believed to repel evil.
Hibiscus Tattoo Meanings
Hibiscus flowers are not only beautiful and intricate but also have a fascinating history associated with them. There are many different meanings behind a hibiscus tattoo design.
- In Hawaiian culture, hibiscus tattoos can represent royalty, power, and respect. They may also symbolize beauty and taking advantage of opportunities.
- In Japanese culture, hibiscus flowers are a symbol of gentleness.
- The color of a hibiscus tattoo is also significant in determining its meaning. A white hibiscus can represent purity, a yellow one can symbolize good fortune, a red one can convey passion, a purple one may represent wisdom, and a pink hibiscus can symbolize different forms of love.
Hourglass Tattoo Meanings
An hourglass tattoo can serve as a reminder that time is finite, and our resources are rapidly diminishing. Environmentalists may wear an hourglass tattoo to express this idea, while religious individuals may get it as a symbol of the day of reckoning.
Additionally, an hourglass tattoo can hold a variety of meanings, such as everlasting love, the passing of a loved one, the fleeting nature of time, and death as a natural part of life.
Hummingbird Tattoo Meaning
Hummingbirds have been prominently featured in Native American legends, literature, folklore, and mythology, often representing love.
- In particular, Aztec culture revered hummingbirds, with their royal and religious leaders wearing feathers and even dead hummingbirds. According to their beliefs, dead warriors were reincarnated as hummingbirds.
- Getting a tattoo of a hummingbird can symbolize the difficulty and hard work that comes with life.
- Since hummingbirds have to work hard to survive, they represent strength and perseverance.
- A hummingbird tattoo can also signify someone who loves life and cherishes every moment.
IGY6 Tattoo Meanings
The IGY6 tattoo is a symbol of support and solidarity, with “6” representing the area behind you in military terms. In other words, it means “I Got Your Back.”
People who wear the IGY6 tattoo are showing their commitment to supporting others and working towards a common goal.
The semicolon that often appears before the IGY6 tattoo creates a pause, which represents a moment of reconsideration before doing something harmful, like committing suicide. By wearing the IGY6 tattoo, people are showing their support for others and helping to prevent self-harm. It’s a powerful symbol that represents the importance of looking out for one another and having each other’s backs.
Infinity Tattoo Meaning
The infinity symbol was first created in 1655 by English mathematician John Wallis. Over time, it has been used in different forms and with different meanings, including in religious contexts.
- Social media has played a significant role in popularizing the infinity sign, which is often used in tattoos to represent eternal life and rebirth. The continuous loop of the symbol represents a never-ending cycle.
- In mythology, the Ouroboros snake is often depicted as an infinity symbol because it wraps around itself and eats its own tail. This symbolizes the cycle of life and death.
- The infinity sign can also represent the concept of snakes in general.
Japanese Dragon Tattoo Meanings
Throughout Japanese history, dragons have been revered as legendary creatures with various honors and powers. In Japanese culture, dragons are viewed positively and are often seen as symbols of wisdom, protection, and power.
Dragons in Japanese culture are depicted in various colors, and each color carries its own significance.
- Green dragon tattoos represent the earth and the vitality of life.
- Black dragons are seen as wise and elderly parents.
- Blue dragons symbolize laziness, forgiveness, and compassion.
- Yellow dragons are associated with people who are helpful but may also be self-centered.
- Finally, golden dragon tattoos symbolize integral qualities such as wisdom, kindness, and helpfulness.
Jellyfish Tattoo Meanings
Jellyfish are ancient sea creatures that have lived in the ocean for millions of years, making them a symbol of ancient wisdom.
Some people get a jellyfish tattoo to show that they have an old soul.
Jellyfish have stingers that can cause a lot of pain to those who are stung. This characteristic can represent the wearer of the tattoo as someone who may unintentionally hurt others and have difficulty getting close to them. However, in a paradoxical twist, jellyfish tattoos can also convey a message of tranquility.
Despite being predators that are always hunting, jellyfish symbolize peace and serenity in tattoo culture.
John Wick Tattoo Meanings
The Latin phrase tattooed on John Wick’s back says “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat,” which is loosely translated as “Fortune Favors The Bold.” This tattoo has a military-related meaning and has been used as the motto of numerous military units worldwide.
There is a praying hand tattoo on John Wick’s back which has been originally adopted from the masterpiece of German Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer.
Movie fans claim that this tattoo indicates John’s allegiance to the Russian families he worked for. Also, some others believe that this tattoo symbolizes the act of praying and asking God for forgiveness in Christianity.
Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Koi fish tattoos are a really popular design that comes from Japan. People like them because koi fish are seen as strong and determined. They can swim against strong currents and jump up waterfalls!
- In Japan, koi fish also represent good luck, success, and overcoming obstacles.
- When people get a koi fish tattoo, they might be trying to show their own journey in life.
- Different colors of koi fish can represent different things, like bravery, overcoming challenges, calmness, and wealth.
People often add other symbols to their koi fish tattoo, like lotus flowers or waves, to make it more meaningful. Koi fish tattoos can be drawn in lots of different styles, from traditional Japanese to watercolor or realistic, so everyone can make their tattoo unique.
Ladybug Tattoo Meanings
It’s believed that having a ladybug land on your body is a sign of good luck. This belief comes from Chinese folklore, which sees ladybugs as bringers of good luck. They even believe that if a ladybug lands on your clothes, you’ll find the love of your life soon. So if you’re single and looking for love, getting a ladybug tattoo might be a good idea!
Ladybugs can also represent friendship, happiness, good deeds, and protection. They’re good for gardens because they help pollinate flowers.
It’s important to know that killing ladybugs is seen as bad luck. Instead, it’s lucky to leave them alone and count the number of spots on their bodies. The number of spots corresponds to the number of years you’ll be lucky. So it’s a good idea to let ladybugs land on you if you can!
Lavender Tattoo Meanings
Lavender is a flower that has a pretty, deep purple color. This color has been associated with royalty and nobility in the past because it was hard to make purple dye, so only wealthy people could afford it. Lavender still has this meaning today.
Lavender can also represent quietness and enjoying nature in a calm way. This is different from more bold designs that show wild animals or violent scenes. Lavender can also represent calmness because it has a soothing scent and is known for being a relaxing plant.
Lightning Bolt Tattoo Meanings
Lightning bolt tattoos usually mean speed and power. They’re often linked to the Greek god Zeus. People use them a lot in traditional tattoos and designs by artists like Sailor Jerry because they’re easy to draw.
- If a lightning bolt tattoo doesn’t have any other symbols with it, it might mean the person is energetic or has a spark of electricity about them.
- In some cases, a lightning bolt tattoo can represent the Harry Potter books and movies if it looks like a jagged “S” shape.
Lighthouse Tattoo Meaning
Lighthouses were used in the past to help ships find their way to shore when the waters were rough or they were in danger.
- They represented safety and a way for the crew to make it to their destination.
- Similarly, a lighthouse tattoo can represent finding guidance in difficult times in life and a clear path forward. The “guiding light” can be anything that helps you find your way, like religion, a mentor, or a loved one.
- Whatever helps you navigate through life can be symbolized by a lighthouse tattoo.
Lily Tattoo Meanings
Lily tattoos are a great choice for people who want to represent partnership and femininity. The history behind this comes from ancient Greeks who believed that the first lilies grew from the milk of the goddess Hera.
They’re especially popular among those who want to celebrate motherhood and moms in their tattoos.
So if you’re a mom who wants to show off your love for your kids, or a daughter who wants to honor your mother, a lily tattoo could be perfect.
Different colors of lilies have slightly different meanings.
- White represents new beginnings.
- Pink represents femininity.
- Red represens love, like roses.
All of these meanings are connected to life, love, remembrance, and the strong bond between mothers and their children.
Lily of the Valley Tattoo Meanings
The Lily of the Valley is a pretty flower that smells sweet and has white petals. It’s sometimes called the May Lily and has lots of different meanings.
- In Christianity, the Lily of the Valley is connected to the resurrection of Jesus because it blooms early in the spring. It’s also mentioned in the Bible as representing the tears of Jacob and the Virgin Mary for their losses.
- In European traditions, people believed that the Lily of the Valley could protect gardens from evil and ward off witches and evil spirits.
- It was also seen as a sign of good luck and the coming of spring in places like Scandinavia and Germany.
- However, in some folklore, the Lily of the Valley is associated with death and is often found in cemeteries.
Lion Tattoo Meaning
The lion is a really popular symbol in folklore, art, and tattoos because it’s known as the king of the jungle. When people use lion designs, whether they’re realistic or artistic, it’s to show that they have qualities associated with power:
Lions are respected and admired in almost every culture, and you can find paintings of them all around the world. They usually represent royal power and are seen as the top of the power hierarchy. But they also represent inner strength that helps people control their emotions and actions.
Lotus Flower Tattoo Meanings
The lotus flower is one of the most recognizable and meaningful flowers around. It has a lot of symbolism, especially in Eastern cultures like Hinduism and Buddhism.
- The lotus flower is seen as a symbol of purity and beauty. If the flower has only 8 petals, it represents the Noble Eightfold Path in Buddhist philosophy.
- But generally, the lotus flower can symbolize knowledge and enlightenment.
- The color of the lotus flower is also important. Red symbolizes love and compassion.
- The way the flower looks — whether it’s closed, partially open, or fully open — can also have meaning.
Luna Moth Tattoo Meanings
The Luna moth is a really pretty moth that can be found in North America. People of all genders enjoy getting a tattoo of this moth because it goes through different stages in its life just like humans do. The moth transforms its appearance a lot, which is called metamorphosis.
Even though other insects also go through metamorphosis, this feature is special to the Luna moth and is why it’s often used as a tattoo design.
When people get a tattoo of a Luna moth, it represents the idea of making positive changes in life, renewing one’s spirit, and rebuilding oneself physically.
Mandala Tattoo Meanings
Mandala means “circle.” In Indian culture, it’s a religious and spiritual symbol representing the entire universe. Mandalas are made up of geometric and radial designs with beautiful patterns. The entire design, as well as the smaller details within, follow the same design principles.
- Today, Mandalas are commonly used to represent the universe or cosmos, as they often depict circular shapes like diagrams, charts, and patterns.
- They’re also used for meditation and promoting peace of mind.
- Besides symbolizing the universe, Mandalas are believed to represent the self as well.
Medusa Tattoo Meanings
Medusa, a famous female monster from mythology, had the power to turn people into stone with one look, making her one of the most well-known mythological figures.
- Medusa’s beauty and terror represents the duality of human experience. Those who get a Medusa tattoo are often highlighting female power or showcasing the ambiguity of human nature, which can be both beautiful and dangerous.
- Medusa tattoos continue to be popular today as a symbol of strength and duality.
Moon Tattoo Meanings
The moon has played a significant role in human myths and legends since the beginning of time.
- It is associated with mystery, magic, and witchcraft because it is only visible in the darkness. The changing phases of the moon represent the cycle of life, which is always in motion.
- In some cultures, the moon is both feared and respected, symbolizing both power and death.
- In others, it represents birth, rebirth, and life.
- While the moon has traditionally been associated with love and magic, in modern times, it has become a symbol of evil and madness due to werewolf legends. According to these myths, werewolves transform during a full moon.
Moth Tattoo Meanings
The moth is a unique creature that undergoes metamorphosis like a butterfly, but with a stronger association with death due to its diet consisting of dead animal and plant matter.
- The symbolism behind transformation can be used to represent someone who has overcome significant change in their life and has grown into a stronger version of themselves, like the moth.
- Choosing a moth tattoo instead of a butterfly tattoo shows a person is more comfortable with the darker elements of life and the role death plays in the world. It can represent a person who has faced their darkest moments and emerged stronger.
Octopus Tattoo Meanings
The octopus is known for having an incredibly long lifespan and is considered one of the smartest creatures on Earth. As a result, it is often used as a symbol of intelligence by those who identify with it. Additionally, due to its ability to regrow its tentacles and live for a long time, the octopus is also associated with regeneration.
Depending on the art style, the octopus can also be used to represent a particular culture’s mythos. For instance, Japanese-style octopus tattoos are a way to show appreciation for that culture and its relationship with the sea.
Overall, the octopus is a fascinating animal that holds a lot of symbolic meanings and can be used in various ways to express personal or cultural identity.
Orchid Tattoo Meanings
Here are the main meanings of orchid tattoos:
- Orchid tattoos are often associated with femininity, and women tend to wear them more than men. They can be a symbol of beauty, elegance, and grace.
- Orchid tattoos are also commonly associated with fertility. So, if you are a woman who loves children or a newlywed, an orchid tattoo could be a good choice.
- Orchid tattoos can represent rare beauty, which is difficult to define. They can also represent refinement and classiness. If you have proper acts or dress, you may want to consider an orchid tattoo.
Furthermore, orchid tattoos can show inner strength. If you are a powerful person, especially in your soul and mind, this tattoo could be for you. However, it does not represent physical strength.
Owl Tattoo Meanings
Owls are known for their symbolic ambiguity. People who get owl tattoos may be embracing this ambiguity, acknowledging both the importance of knowledge and the existence of evil.
- They can represent knowledge and wisdom to some, while others associate them with darkness and evil.
- The tattoo may be a way for the person to express their appreciation for wisdom while recognizing the complexity of the world.
Palm Tree Tattoo Meanings
A palm tree tattoo can have various meanings. When people think of palm trees, they usually associate them with the peaceful and serene atmosphere of the beach and the ocean.
If you have a busy and hectic life, a palm tree tattoo can serve as a constant reminder to add more relaxation to your life.
While there are many symbols of peace that you can choose from, a palm tree is a great option for anyone who values peace and tranquility in their life.
Panther Tattoo Meanings
The panther tattoo can convey different meanings, but its flexibility and depth make it a popular choice for those seeking a bold and meaningful tattoo design.
- Panthers are known for their strength and agility, making them a popular symbol of power and prowess.
- Their graceful movements and stealthy hunting techniques also make them a symbol of grace and elegance.
- The panther tattoo design has a rich history, with its popularity among soldiers during World War 2 linking it to military culture and the strength it represents.
Peacock Tattoo Meanings
The peacock tattoo is a popular design due to its vibrant colors and stunning appearance.
- The bird itself represents beauty, grace, and love, and in some cultures, it also symbolizes integrity and immortality.
- Peacock is India’s national bird and is associated with the divine due to its many “eyes” on its feathers. However, the “eyes” have also been associated with an evil or all-seeing eye, which makes it a symbol of watchfulness and observance.
- Christians believe that a peacock tattoo wearer is spiritual and devoted to God.
Peony Tattoo Meaning
The peony is a pink flower that originates from the Pacific area. It is famously known as the “king of flowers” in Japanese and Chinese folklore.
- Because of its royal association, the peony can symbolize qualities like nobility, strength, and honor.
- The flower is also considered a good sign, as it represents true love and affection.
- Additionally, people often pair the peony with other Japanese symbols to showcase their admiration for the culture.
Phoenix Tattoo Meanings
The phoenix is a mythical bird that symbolizes rebirth, and this is the inspiration for the phoenix tattoo design.
For different people, the concept of rebirth can take on various meanings:
- It could represent starting over and becoming a new person after overcoming a challenge like addiction.
- For others, it may mean surviving a serious medical condition, such as cancer, and having a second chance at life.
- As a symbol of fire, the phoenix could also represent a fiery spirit and not giving up in difficult times.
Those who choose the phoenix tattoo do so for its noble meaning and personal significance.
See our article on phoenix tattoos and their meanings for more details about this fascinating mystical creature and its symbolism.
Pineapples Tattoo Meanings
People love the pineapple because it’s a fun and popular fruit that’s been appearing more and more in tattoo designs over the past ten years. A tattoo of a pineapple can mean you’re celebrating joy or hope.
Pineapples make us think of tropical places, vacations, and feeling relaxed and comfortable.
Although it may seem tough on the outside, the pineapple is actually a symbol of strength. What’s unique about the pineapple is that its strength is layered – it has a rough, prickly exterior that hides a soft and sweet inside.
Pink and Blue-Ribbon Tattoo Meaning
The Pink and Blue Ribbon is a symbol that represents the heart-wrenching loss of a baby. This kind of loss can happen during pregnancy or shortly after birth and includes stillbirths, miscarriages, accidents, or any other cause that tragically ends a baby’s life. It’s a difficult and sad subject that deserves respect and empathy.
The symbol started in the UK and was first used in October to bring attention to the issue of baby loss.
It serves as a way to honor and remember the babies who left this world too soon, and to show support and solidarity to those who have experienced this devastating loss.
Raven Tattoo Meanings
In many cultures, ravens are believed to be a sign of death. They are associated with the moth in this way because both creatures are scavengers that are drawn to the scent of decaying bodies. Because of this, ravens are often used to represent acceptance of death in a similar way to moths.
- Ravens are also seen as mysterious and dark, partly because of their color – they are completely black.
- They are sometimes used to symbolize shadows, adding to their reputation as a symbol of the unknown and the mysterious.
- Throughout history, ravens have played an important role in folklore and mythology, often representing both death and mystery.
Red Butterfly Tattoo Meanings
Red butterflies are considered a sign of good luck in some Native American cultures, and they can make a great choice for a tattoo that represents good fortune.
- Butterflies in general are often used to symbolize change and growth, and when they’re depicted as red, they can represent passion and romance as well. This can be a meaningful way to represent a significant change in someone’s love life or personal interests.
However, not everyone views red butterflies in a positive light.
- In Scotland, for example, they can be seen as a sign of witches in disguise, so the context matters.
Regardless, red butterflies can be a beautiful and powerful symbol that represents growth, transformation, and passion.
See our article on butterfly tattoos and their meanings for more details about this fascinating animal and its symbolism.
Roman Numerals Tattoo Meanings
Roman numerals have a lot of different meanings and are often used as tattoos. If you like to keep things private and don’t want to reveal the meaning behind your tattoo, then Roman numerals might be a good choice for you.
- Another reason people get Roman numeral tattoos is to show how important a particular number, name, or date is to them. For example, maybe that number represents a special event in your life, like the day you got married or the day you graduated from college.
- Roman numerals can also represent the history of the ancient Roman Empire, which is a fascinating subject for many people.
Rose Tattoo Meaning
The rose has been a symbol of love and passion for as long as anyone can remember.
This beautiful flower has captured the hearts of people all over the world and has been associated with ancient Greek goddesses like Aphrodite/Venus and Isis. According to legend, the rose grew from the blood of Adonis, the slain son of Aphrodite, and the goddess’s tears, making it a symbol of eternal love.
But the rose has other meanings as well, depending on the culture and context:
- In Christianity, the rose is closely associated with the Virgin Mary, and the five petals of the rose symbolize Christ’s five wounds.
- In Tarot, the rose represents transformation, mysticism, and illumination.
- In England, the rose is the national flower, dating back to the reign of Henry VII. He used roses to symbolize unity between the houses of Lancaster and York after the Wars of the Roses.
Overall, the rose is a powerful symbol that can represent love, passion, transformation, and unity, among other things. Its beauty and rich history have made it a beloved flower all around the world.
For more details on this beautiful design, see our article “Rose Tattoos: The truth Behind Their Meaning“.
Sacred Heart Tattoo Meanings
Although it originated in Christianity, the Sacred Heart symbol is now widely used in tattooing for its aesthetic appeal. Sacred Heart tattoos typically feature a heart surrounded by a crown of thorns, flames, and divine light.
- The Parisian nun Saint Margaret Alacoque was the first to promote this symbol as a representation of Jesus’ love for humanity.
- Another related symbol is the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which depicts a heart pierced by swords representing the Seven Sorrows.
Despite its evolution over time, the Sacred Heart tattoo remains a popular choice in modern tattoo culture.
Samurai Tattoo Meanings
Samurai tattoos can have different meanings depending on their variations. However, in general, they convey messages of:
- Bravery and courage
- Life and death
In Japanese culture, samurais always practice as if it is their last day living, which is why getting a samurai tattoo can inspire you to live life to the fullest. It reminds you that nobody is certain about tomorrow, and life is fragile.
Many people who value the samurai and their culture have been wearing this tattoo for many years.
Scorpion Tattoo Meanings
A scorpion tattoo can hold various meanings depending on the person wearing it.
- Generally, the tattoo can symbolize strength and power, as scorpions are known for their venomous stings and fierce hunting tactics.
- Scorpions also represent the zodiac sign for those born between October 23 and November 22.
- Some believe the tattoo can offer protection to the wearer by repelling evil, thanks to the scorpion’s aggressive and protective nature.
Semicolon Tattoo Meanings
The semicolon tattoo is a relatively new design that has gained popularity in recent years.
It originated from The Semicolon Project, an organization launched in the United States in 2013 dedicated to combating anxiety and depression. The semicolon symbol, which grammatically indicates that the author could have ended a sentence but chose to continue, represents those who struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts but choose to keep moving forward.
Getting a semicolon tattoo typically signifies that you have battled these issues or support mental health awareness.
Shark Tattoo Meanings
Shark tattoos have been an important symbol in Polynesian culture for centuries.
- They are often associated with protection, courage, and guidance. In Polynesian culture, shark tattoos were believed to protect seafarers from the dangers of the deep waters and enemies.
- Shark tattoos can also be inked on any part of the body to symbolize intelligence, aggression, and efficiency.
Although primarily worn by men, shark tattoos are also popular among women.
This tattoo design often features a banner above or below the ship with the words “Homeward Bound.”
Sailors especially love this design as it shows a fully rigged ship navigating the Seven Seas.
This tattoo has a dual significance as it not only represents the wearer’s profession but is also considered a good luck charm, bringing safety and success to sailors returning home. In addition, it was traditionally worn by sailors who had successfully rounded Cape Horn, a treacherous passage at the southern tip of South America.
Skull Tattoo Meanings
While skulls are often associated with death and decay, they can also carry positive meanings.
- The symbol of a skull can prompt one to contemplate the meaning of life. It has been embraced by rebellious cultures, such as pirates, and has been used to intimidate others and assert power.
- In art, the skull is often used to represent hidden knowledge or truth. For example, the anamorphic presentation of the skull in Hans Holbein’s painting, The Ambassadors (1533), serves to convey a deeper message.
- Nowadays, the skull symbol is commonly used as a warning label on the packaging of poisonous substances.
Snake Tattoo Meanings
Snakes are one of the most symbolic animals in the world for various reasons.
- In some religions and cultures, like Christianity, snakes are seen as evil, deceitful, and untrustworthy. These negative connotations have existed for centuries.
- Because of their ability to shed their skin, snakes can also represent change, growth, and rebirth.
- If you see someone with a snake tattoo, it’s also likely they chose it for its representation of transformation, highlighting their resilience and strength.
See our article on snake tattoos and their meanings for more details about this fascinating animal and its symbolism.
Sparrow Tattoo Meanings
The sparrow may be small, but it holds a lot of meaning as a tattoo.
Humans and sparrows have coexisted for centuries, inspiring art and admiration for their beauty and behavior.
The sparrow is often associated with travel and sightseeing, and is a symbol of spring, particularly after a long and dreary winter. Sparrow tattoos can also represent cheerfulness, perseverance in the face of adversity, peace, good luck, and love of family.
Spade Tattoo Meanings
The most popular meaning is luck, since spades are considered to be lucky cards to draw. So, if you want to attract good fortune into your life, a spade tattoo might be a great choice.
However, a spade tattoo can also represent death, which was its primary association with military affairs. The French used spades as a symbol of death and power when they conquered the world. So, if you’re drawn to the symbolism of death or military power, a spade tattoo could be a meaningful choice for you.
Spider Tattoo Meanings
Spiders are often seen in a negative light in both life and tattoo culture.
For a long time, spider tattoos have been linked with criminals and the prison system.
In reality, the practice of tattooing in prison is even more intriguing than it appears in movies and TV shows. Generally, a spider web tattoo signifies the amount of time a person has spent in jail. In some prisons, a new circle is added to the web for each year of imprisonment. Thus, getting a spider tattoo can come with stigma and may not be an ideal choice for some.
Spiders can also symbolize:
- Danger or fear
- Cunning or intelligence
- Creativity or artistic expression
Spider Web Tattoo Meanings
The spider web tattoo has a rich history dating back to the world of convicts, criminals, and prisoners.
Originally designed on the elbows of inmates, the tattoo symbolized that the prisoner had spent so much time with their elbows on the table that spiders made webs there.
- Today, the spider web tattoo has taken on new meanings, but in the past, the number of circles within the web could represent the number of years spent in prison.
- In Russian prisons, a simple web tattoo can depict the wearer as a thief, while a spider in the web signifies drug addiction.
- Sometimes, the spider web tattoo is associated with murder in prison.
Sun Tattoo Meanings
Throughout history, humans have worshipped the sun as a deity because we spend half of our lives basking in its warmth and light. Below are some of the sun gods and goddesses from different cultures:
- Tonatiuh from Aztec mythology
- Hepa from Hittite mythology
- Re (known as Ra in the West) from Egyptian mythology
- Apollo from both Greek and Roman mythology
The sun represents life, bringing light and warmth to the world. It is also a symbol of power and strength.
For people going through a time of change and growth, the sun can symbolize a new dawn in their lives, a sign of emerging from darkness. Getting a sun tattoo can serve as a reminder of the light that can guide us through the darkest moments of our lives.
Sunflower Tattoo Meanings
Sunflowers are not only popular as a modern design for tattoos or handbags, but they also hold great symbolic meaning. These bright and vibrant flowers are considered as a universal symbol of love, happiness, light, and positivity. They have inspired numerous songs, poems, and of course, tattoo designs.
- Sunflowers represent joy, perseverance, and are famous for their ability to follow the sun. People who choose to get a sunflower tattoo often want a constant reminder of positivity, love, and light in their life.
- Additionally, the sunflower can represent an appreciation and respect for the beauty and majesty of nature.
Sun and Moon Tattoo Meanings
The sun and moon are powerful symbols of life and peace. The sun represents warmth and energy, while the moon is often seen as a symbol of death and femininity.
Combining these two symbols in a tattoo represents the need for balance in life, and finding peace with oneself and the world. This cycle of life and death is ongoing, and the sun will always rise after the moon falls.
Swallow Tattoo Meanings
Sailors have long embraced the swallow tattoo as an iconic nautical symbol.
According to tradition, wearing a single swallow tattoo indicated that a sailor had traveled 5,000 nautical miles, while two swallows meant they had journeyed 10,000 nautical miles.
- The swallow is also believed to represent the idea of returning home, no matter how far the journey. Sailors would wear this tattoo to express their belief that they would always make it home safely.
- Additionally, legend has it that when a sailor passed away at sea, birds, including swallows, would carry their soul to the afterlife, so some sailors wear a swallow tattoo as a constant reminder of this belief.
Sword Tattoo Meanings
When we think of swords, images of courageous warriors clad in shining armor often come to mind. That’s why swords are commonly associated with bravery, strength, and protection. However, the symbolic meaning of swords goes beyond their physical attributes.
- In alchemy, swords are thought to possess the power to purify one’s spiritual soul.
- In Buddhism, swords represent the ability to sever the ties of earthly existence and attain enlightenment.
- Swords have also been revered as potent talismans throughout history, with legendary heroes like King Arthur and Perseus wielding them to accomplish their quests.
The sword’s enduring symbolism across cultures and time speaks to its enduring power as a symbol of strength, courage, and transformation.
Teardrop Tattoo Meanings
The teardrop tattoo has a controversial history and can have different meanings. Most people link it to criminal activity, especially in prison life.
- The tattoo is associated with sadness or the loss of an inmate.
- However, in recent times, teardrop tattoos can also represent mourning or loss for the person who has it. For instance, it could be a reminder of someone they lost or a tragic event that they overcame. In this way, a teardrop tattoo serves as a symbol of their memory and resilience.
Third Eye Tattoo Meanings
The third eye is a symbol of a spiritual gateway leading to higher levels of awareness. It represents a state of enlightenment that is significant to anyone who practices spirituality or personal growth.
- This symbol can also represent the ability to see both the inner and outer worlds, including reflection, clairvoyance, visions, precognition, and out-of-body experiences.
- When placed between the eyebrows, the third eye can represent the connection to wisdom and insight. It allows you to access inner guidance and deeper truths that come from within, cutting through illusions and accessing the highest levels of consciousness.
Three Dots Tattoo Meanings
The three dots tattoo can have multiple interpretations, and its meaning can vary based on the culture, region, or person.
- The most common meanings include “Mi Vida Loca,” which represents the struggle and hardships of gang members’ lives.
- Another meaning is the representation of past, present, and future, symbolizing living in the present moment and moving forward.
- Additionally, in Hispanic cultures, the three dots tattoo can represent the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
Three Percenter Tattoo Meanings
The Three Percenter tattoo is associated with the far-right, anti-government militia group in the United States called the Three Percenters, named after the belief that only 3% of colonists fought against the British during the American Revolution.
They’ve been involved in controversial incidents, including armed standoffs with law enforcement, and are considered a potential domestic terrorism threat by the FBI.
The tattoo is often worn by members or supporters of the group as a sign of their ideology and beliefs. It’s important to note that not all individuals who have the tattoo are necessarily part of the group. The tattoo has also been associated with pro-gun rights and anti-immigrant sentiments.
It’s crucial to be aware of the potential negative connotations associated with this tattoo and to research its meaning before getting inked.
Tiger Tattoo Meaning
Tigers are a popular subject in art because they represent a deep connection to nature, beauty, and strength.
- They are one of the strongest cats, second only to lions, and have been admired throughout history as a symbol of beauty and wealth.
- Tiger designs often represent the strength of the wearer and their appreciation of nature.
- Some people simply admire the fearsome appearance and majestic presence of the tiger.
- Tigers also have a playful nature, so some designs emphasize this to add a playful contrast to the existing strength of the tiger.
Tree Tattoo Meaning
Trees are a common plant that represent nature, life, and strength.
They are known for their ability to grow massively in various climates and live for a long time. Because of this, trees can symbolize endurance in the face of adversity, a deep connection with nature, and the general idea of life itself.
Tree of Life Tattoo Meanings
The Tree of Life is a universal symbol that has many variations across cultures.
- It represents the importance of living in harmony with nature and how it sustains humanity.
- The Tree of Life can also be used to depict humanity’s reliance on nature, as we all share the Earth’s bounty together.
Triangle Tattoo Meanings
The triangle doesn’t have a single meaning as its simplicity as a shape has led different groups to assign their own meanings to it.
- For Christians, the triangle may represent the Holy Trinity, which includes The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost, as these are the forms that God comes in to guide them in their life.
- A triangle may also symbolize time, with the past, present, and future interconnected.
Turtle Tattoo Meanings
Turtles are one of the longest living animals in nature and are known for their steady progress.
- They represent moving forward steadily and overcoming obstacles at one’s own pace.
- Turtles can also symbolize being withdrawn, as they have the ability to hide in their shells, but that doesn’t make them weak. It can represent those who have a connection to nature and might want to withdraw when needed.
- Turtles are also intelligent creatures that represent the pursuit of knowledge and safety in that pursuit.
Two Lines Tattoo Meanings
The “two lines” tattoo design represents heavy and light facts. For example, it can symbolize the loss of a loved one while also representing strength and power.
Typically, the thicker solid design is a symbol of the loss of an important person or pet. If you ink this sign on your bicep, it can be a symbol of strength, and the bold design can draw attention to you. Many people wear this tattoo as motivation to stay in shape, so it can also represent motivation and good luck.
Unalome Tattoo Meanings
Unalome is a widely recognized symbol in both Hinduism and Buddhism and has become a popular tattoo design around the world.
- In Hinduism, it symbolizes the Third Eye of Lord Shiva, the highest Hindu God who is believed to be able to remove obstacles in people’s lives.
- In Buddhism, Unalome represents the path to enlightenment. The spiral in the symbol represents the crown of Buddha, while the twists and turns represent the obstacles one must overcome on their journey through life.
Valknut Tattoo Meanings
If you’re familiar with Norse mythology, you’ve probably heard of Valknut tattoos.
- The symbol originated in Germanic cultures and was used to honor those who passed away, especially in battle. It’s associated with Odin, the god who carries the souls of the dead to the underground world and back to the living world. The word “Valknut” means all the slain warriors in Norse mythology.
- Today, Valknut tattoos are used to show respect and honor to those who have passed away, whether in battle or not.
Most people opt for a black design.
Vine Tattoo Meanings
Vine tattoos have deep symbolic meanings behind them.
- They’re commonly used to represent growth and a personal connection with nature.
- Different types of vine tattoos can have other meanings as well. For instance, grapevine tattoos are used in religious contexts and are considered a symbol of the chosen people in Judeo-Christian traditions.
- Ivy vine tattoos, on the other hand, were popular among ancient Greeks and Romans as a symbol of immortality, friendship, and love. This vine was associated with fertility and femininity.
- For men, the holly vine was a popular choice, representing virility and power.
Wave Tattoo Meanings
The ocean is a huge body of water that holds great importance in history and culture. The saying “time and tide waits for no one” has motivated people to get ocean-related tattoos.
Wave tattoos can symbolize many things such as adventure, journeys both physical and spiritual, being alone, being rebellious, and long-lasting love.
Wolf Tattoo Meanings
Wolves are often used as symbols of the untamed side of nature, as well as their pack mentality.
- In mythology, they are seen as powerful, clever fighters that exude strength and authority.
- However, the idea of the “lone wolf” cannot be ignored, as it represents someone who prefers to be independent.
- Wolf tattoos also symbolize family and loyalty. They represent the desire to protect and care for loved ones and the importance of relying on and supporting each other. It serves as a reminder of the bond between family members and their values.
- Generally, those who choose a wolf tattoo view it as a symbol of the power of nature, as well as a statement about personal strength and resilience.
- In certain cultures, wolves are considered as spiritual guardians and guides that can help people in navigating their life path. Therefore, a wolf tattoo can also represent a strong connection with the spiritual world and a desire for protection and guidance.
Yin Yang Tattoo Meanings
The Yin Yang symbol is a powerful and ancient Chinese philosophy that holds many complex meanings.
It is based on the idea that two opposing forces, such as good and evil, or feminine and masculine, are constantly seeking balance. The simplicity and openness of the symbol have made it very popular, as it can be interpreted in many different ways.
Yin represents the good, while Yang represents the bad, and the two forces come together to create a single whole.
444 Tattoo Meanings
The number 444 is a design based on numerology, which is the study of numbers and their meanings. In numerology, repeated numbers have special significance in the world and in art. 444 is a number that is associated with good fortune and balance, and the idea behind using it is to bring balance and peace into your life.
- It can also represent determination and motivation, helping you move forward through challenges in your activities.
- Additionally, 444 can symbolize deep love and passion, making it a powerful symbol with many meanings.
777 Tattoo Meaning
777 is a design that is often linked with luck in western culture, making it a popular choice for those who believe in good fortune. It is frequently favored by gamblers, as the number is associated with winning, such as in slot machines where 777 is the jackpot.
However, others may see 777 in a spiritual or religious context, representing the Christian holy trinity. Each of the three 7s can be seen as representing a branch of the trinity, which comes together to form a single divine number.
999 Tattoo Meaning
In the western world, the number 7 is considered lucky, so the combination 777 is often associated with luck. On the other hand, 666 is often associated with satanism. However, some people see 999 as a symbol of overcoming struggles and walking a righteous path.
Rapper Juice World popularized this idea by reversing the numbers of 666, which represented the evils and struggles of life, to get 999.
In addition to this, 999 can also be seen as a number representing the end of a relationship or a turbulent time in one’s life, bringing peace and finality.
What do tattoos symbolize?
Tattoos have been used for thousands of years to represent personal expression, adornment, status symbols, and more. They are permanent and allow people to express their individuality, beliefs, achievements, and creativity. The meaning behind a tattoo is personal and can represent a range of emotions, experiences, and symbolism.
Do tattoos need to have meaning?
Tattoos do not have to have a specific meaning or symbolism. While some people use tattoos to express emotions, beliefs, or experiences, others simply enjoy the visual appeal. Ultimately, the decision to get a tattoo and the design chosen is a personal choice, and what matters most is that the individual is happy with their decision.