Good things come in the smallest packages, they say. The best perfumes come in small bottles, the finest jewels come in small boxes, among other things. The huge value of small things also extends to tattoos. A simple, small, or delicate tattoo can speak volumes about your character, your emotions, and things you hold close to your heart. Small tattoos have a major significance but are also practical. They are ideal for people who want to get a tattoo but would like it to be subtle.
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Small Tattoos with Big Meanings
Since a tattoo is meant to stay with you forever and it’s always good to opt for something relatable, this ultimate guide focuses on small tattoos with big meanings. Scroll down to check them out.
1. Crescent moon tattoo
The Crescent moon tattoo represents fertility and motherhood, but it also has many other meanings. For instance, a crescent moon can stand for creativity, growth, and manifestation. Many people opt for a crescent moon tattoo to depict a new phase in life. If you’re opening a new chapter in life, crescent moon ink is a great way to represent it.
Not all people get this tattoo because they find its symbolism relatable. Some opt for this type of body art just because they love crescent moons. Moon lovers will absolutely adore this small, elegant, and so powerful tattoo.
The best thing about crescent moons is that you can get a fine line tattoo, black and grey ink, multicolor tattoo, options are endless. Since it’s subtle and elegant, the crescent moon looks great on the neck, fingers, wrists, ankles, and other body parts. Versatility is always a good thing.
2. Sun tattoo
Rise and shine.
Sunny days make us happy instantly. There’s something about sunlight that brings out the best in us and we immediately become more optimistic, energetic, motivated, among other things.
We associate the sun with positive vibes and that’s exactly what a tattoo with this image represents. A sun tattoo symbolizes light and truth. For instance, you may opt for a sun tattoo to depict you have reached light, peace, and truth after overcoming hardships in life.
Sun tattoo also represents rebirth, a new beginning, new dawn. Whether you’re having a fresh start or want to pay tribute to someone who helped you in tough times, the sun tattoo is the right choice.
Small tattoos suit different places on the body, so you have plenty of options. Sun looks great in fine line technique, but if you want the small tattoo to be edgier, you can have its rays accentuated.
3. Wave tattoo
Wave tattoo depicts soul, subconsciousness, and emotion. Whether it’s a fine line or a more elaborate tattoo, the wave also symbolizes nature, the primal state, fantasy, dreams, and so much more. Wave can also represent independence, rebelliousness, and love.
Ocean waves are glorious and yet so powerful at the same time, so your tattoo can represent the same things. Plus, it’s impossible to deny the esthetic appeal of waves and their amazing elegance. This tattoo is usually in places where you can cover or conceal it with ease.
You can opt for classic waves, fine lines or realistic, but also add other images such as sun, stars, the moon, options are endless.
4. Paper crane
Crane has a special place in the cultures of the Far East. This bird is believed to bring good luck, which is why it’s known as the “bird of peace” or “bird of happiness”. Paper cranes, or origami cranes, became a symbol of peace and hope in Japan after World War II. It became a tradition for people to fold paper cranes as a sign of prosperity, good health, and peace.
In the tattoo world, a paper crane carries the same meanings. People get an origami crane tattooed on their bodies to represent joy, peace, protection, and prosperity. A paper crane ink is suitable for a person who is at peace with something or you’re hoping to be one day. Your paper crane tattoo can also depict longevity and good fortune.
So whether you find these meanings relatable or you want to achieve good health and prosperity, a paper crane tattoo is a good option. It looks wonderful as a fine line tattoo, but more elaborate designs are appealing as well.
Also Read: 60+ Best Bird Tattoo Design Ideas and Their Meanings (2023 Updated)
5. Semicolon tattoo
Semicolon tattoos are small, demure, and easy to conceal when (or if) necessary. When an author uses a semicolon it means they could have chosen to end the sentence but decided not to.
In this case, you are the author and you’re writing your book. The book of life! Life can be difficult and brings many challenges your way. Sometimes it seems you just want to give up, but decide to go on. A semicolon tattoo can represent your tough, resilient, and persuasive spirit. You’re a fighter who never wants to give up.
Semicolon tattoos are also used to change the stigma surrounding suicide. This type of imagery is used to show solidarity against suicide, addiction, depression, and other mental health problems. Many add little wings next to a semicolon to create an image of a butterfly.
You may want to go for a semicolon tattoo to show off how strong and resilient you are, whether you’re overcoming a mental health illness or you have faced other hardships in life. Semicolon ink is also a good way to show support to someone you know if they’re battling these problems.
Also Read: What Does a Semicolon Tattoo Mean: Symbolism and Everything You Need To Know
6. Infinity tattoo
There’s a reason you see the infinity symbol everywhere – it symbolizes timelessness, never-ending cycle, and eternity. The best thing about the infinity tattoo is that an artist can infuse the image with symbolism unique to the wearer.
For example, your infinity tattoo can feature date of birth of a loved one, or even a date of death if you want to pay tribute to someone you’ve lost. Infinity symbol also works well with flowers, quills, and other images that you find relatable.
Since we’re talking about small tattoos here, fine line or dot work are the best options. You can place your infinity tattoo wherever you want e.g. forearm, wrist, shoulder, foot, or any other area of your body.
7. Cat tattoo
Cat lovers rejoice! Take your love for cats one step further and get a cat tattoo. In most cases, a cat tattoo symbolizes luck, mystery, life after death, grace, and quiet intelligence. If you think about it for a second, that’s what cats truly are.
These intelligent animals embody grace and elegance, but they also happen to be mysterious. Mischievous and curious cats seem to have all luck in the world as they get themselves in “trouble” and get away with any “crime”. Nobody can resist those cute little faces and big eyes. Plus, we always say cats have nine lives, which refers to the “life after death” part.
Some people get a cat tattoo because of its symbolism, while others pay tribute to their beloved (usually deceased) pet.
Cats also work well with other images such as hands, moon, flowers. If you also want to combine cat with something else, it could be practical to opt for an image whose symbolism goes well with the meaning behind the cat tattoo. Or you can choose the total opposite and have two different images forming one perfect tattoo.
Also Read: 50+ Best Black Cat Tattoo Design Ideas (Meaning and Inspirations)
8. Inguz rune
Runes are the letters of the runic alphabet. They are also referred to as Viking runes. This type of alphabet consists of different symbols that represent a specific idea, personality trait, or other nouns. For example, inguz rune represents growth and development.
Inguz rune is a symbol for the “where there’s a will, there’s a way” approach to life and success. It looks like two XXs side by side or one on top of the other. Additionally, inguz symbolizes awareness and protection. Love, family, and fertility are also depicted by this simple symbol.
People usually get an Inguz symbol tattoo on their wrists and forearms, but since it doesn’t require too much space you can place it anywhere you want.
9. Yin Yang tattoo
In Chinese philosophy, the Yin Yang symbol represents the concept of duality. This symbol is ideal for persons who desire a balanced life.
Yin and Yang symbol shows that seemingly opposing forces that look contradictory to one another may be dependent on one another. In other words, one force complements the other. Let’s take night and day as examples. They are entirely different, but at the same time, they continue to coexist.
We can’t have a night without a day and vice versa – they coexist with each other.
Yin and yang tattoo shows darkness in every light and a little bit of light in the darkness. It’s the balance that keeps them alive.
Some tattoos show a classic black and white circle, while others rely on koi fish to demonstrate Yin and Yang.
Also Read: 30+ Koi Fish Tattoo Designs (And The Meaning Behind Them)
10. Ohm tattoo
Ohm tattoo is the perfect example of how a small piece of ink can carry big meaning. Or more of them! You see, Ohm (or Om) is the first sound of the Universe, or it is the sum of all sounds.
Your Ohm tattoo can symbolize a lot of things ranging from silence to oneness, creation, totality, and evolution. Ohm ink represents divine expression and the indestructible word (the truth), as well.
With an Ohm tattoo, you convey a message such as reverence for life or understanding of the universe and divine motion it involves. This simple and delicate symbol encompasses the whole universe and it’s ideal for spiritual and philosophical persons.
11. Lotus flower tattoo
Lotus flower is a popular choice for floral tattoos and it’s perfectly understandable why. Although it grows in conditions where any other flower would die, lotus is able to thrive and mesmerize everyone with its beauty.
Several meanings are behind a lotus flower tattoo. For example, in Hinduism, a lotus flower is a symbol of purity and divine beauty. In Egyptian culture, a lotus flower refers to the rebirth and origination of life.
Lotus has a special meaning in the Chinese culture too; it embodies marital bliss and feminine beauty. Western cultures associate the lotus flower with the search for the real meaning of life. Lotus symbolizes divine conception and reincarnation.
If you are looking for a tattoo that represents purity, spiritual awakening, and peace then a lotus flower is your choice.
Also Read: 50 Trendy Spiritual Tattoos: Deep Meanings And Sacred Ink Charms (2023 Updated)
12. Seashell tattoo
Seashell tattoo is usually associated with a feminine vibe and the ideas of fertility and rebirth. Bivalved mollusks symbolize womb and fertility, for example. But, a seashell can also stand for resurrection and good fortune.
The symbolism behind this tattoo also extends to the structure of the seashell. You see, the protective covering is tough and resilient. For that reason, a seashell tattoo can depict the shielding quality of love and protection of life.
Besides its great symbolism, a seashell tattoo proves to be a good choice for persons who simply love seashells. This tattoo doesn’t require too much space thus allowing you to place it wherever you want, but most people opt for arms and legs.
13. Arrow tattoo
Arrow tattoo represents achieving your targets and reaching your goals. Moreover, this tattoo also symbolizes strength in a certain phase of your life and direction in finding your way.
The arrow is not just about the goals and targets per se, it also stands for the fight and challenges you need to overcome to get there. Life brings many challenges ahead and needs to conquer them all in order to reach the goals we’ve set out for ourselves.
Some people rock an arrow tattoo to represent protection and defense against evil.
14. Diamond tattoo
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend or so they say. But they also prove to be a wonderful tattoo choice.
What we love about diamond tattoos is that they are symbolic to the wearer’s beliefs. People opt for a diamond too for different reasons. Some people rock diamond ink to represent purity, strength, or invincibility.
Others see love and faithfulness in diamonds. Additionally, a diamond tattoo embodies power, luxury, beauty, glamour, and wealth.
Considering the fact diamonds are basically indestructible, this tattoo can also show off your resilience and unbelievable strength to endure any hardship that comes your way.
Small diamond tattoos are usually performed in a fine line technique. Talented artists and good shading skills can make your diamond look incredibly realistic.
15. Heart tattoo
Hearts are among the most popular tattoo choices and it’s all thanks to their multiple meanings. The symbolism behind a heart tattoo can be as simple as expressing desire or love. That’s the most common reason people opt for a heart tattoo.
However, this piece of body art also depicts passion and friendship. Some people get a heart tattoo to pay tribute to loved ones they’ve lost.
Heart proves to be an ideal option for friends who want to get matching tattoos. You can get your heart tattoo in standard black fine line, or you can opt for red or any other color.
16. Paper airplane tattoo
You probably made paper airplanes when you were a child. They’re easy to make and it was fun to see them fly, even for a little while.
Paper airplane tattoo may look delicate and demure, but it has powerful meaning. This tattoo serves as a reminder to let go of things that are holding you back. Let the paper plane embody emotions or memories that have been holding you back, and just let it go.
For some people, a paper airplane tattoo is about courage and be more daring in life, especially when it comes to love. We are often scared of getting hurt and decide not to let anyone in our life, but it’s good to be open to new emotions and experiences. In this case, you can combine a paper plane with a tiny heart.
Additionally, a paper airplane floating around represents freedom, a carefree attitude, and creating a new beginning for yourself. If you have a carefree approach to life, a paper airplane tattoo is the perfect piece of ink for you. Or maybe you’re striving to worry less and enjoy more – a paper plane can represent your goals and efforts.
Tiny dots behind the paper plane demonstrate its flight. A talented tattoo artist can make a paper airplane tattoo look like a proper work of art.
Read More: 33 Best Airplane Tattoos Design Ideas (Forearm, Collarbone and Finger )