100+ Most Popular Tattoo Meanings Guide: Creatures (Not Just Animals) Are the Most Popular

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Whether you spot a secret tattoo on a celebrity or friend, or just want to get a meaningful and deep tattoo on your own body, our index of tattoo meanings will help! Yep, we have put in a lot of work here to bring you a definitive list of the most popular tattoos and their meanings.

From bizarre symbols to ancient languages to quirky pop-references that might have otherwise passed you by.

Use our table of contents below to navigate the index and don’t forget to consider the placement, color, and style of the tattoo as well – it’s surprisingly important!

Table of Contents

  • Placement, Color and Style
  • Tattoo Meaning Index
    • People, Gods & Mythical Beings
      • Mythical Beings
      • Gods & Religious Figures
      • Influential People
    • Symbols and Shapes
      • Minimalist Symbols
      • Religious and Cultural Symbols
      • Other Symbols
    • Words and Numbers
    • Animals, Insects & Creatures
      • Insects
      • Ocean & Sea Creatures
      • Land Mammals
      • Reptiles
      • Mythical Creatures
      • Birds
    • Flowers and Foliage
      • Flowers
      • Trees, Shrubs and Plants
    • Objects
      • Lucky Objects
      • Natural Objects
      • Manmade Objects
    • FAQs

Tattoo Placement, Color, and Style

Placement, Color and Style
Saved Tattoo

Before we dig into our very long list of popular tattoos and their meanings, you need to know some other important factors that matter:

  • Placement – where the tattoo is on the body has significant meaning, especially if it’s placed somewhere symbolic like over the heart, behind the ear, or in a private area of the body.
  • Color – with symbols and flowers especially, the color of the tattoo can completely change the meaning. A red rose symbolizes romantic love and passion, for example, while a blue rose is often used to symbolize unattainable love.
  • Style – certain tattoo styles carry further meaning. A black panther could represent a connection to nature and prowess when inked in the American Traditional style… or it could just be a homage to Marvel’s Black Panther movie! The style is a good indicator of meaning here.

You can’t always guess what a tattoo means just by looking at it. To ask someone what their tattoo means, first try to start a conversation about their tattoos in general. “Hey man, awesome tattoos!”

If they respond positively, go ahead and ask about the meaning behind their ink. If they don’t seem interested in talking about their tatts, don’t push any further. Some tattoos can hold very deep, profound, and even painful meanings and memories that people prefer to keep private. It’s just tattoo etiquette!

Tattoo Meaning Index

Our index is split up into subcategories of the most popular tattoo types. Creatures (not just animals) are the most popular, followed by objects, symbols, and flowers.

Tattoo Meanings: People, Gods & Mythical Beings

People, whether it’s just a face or a full body, are quite popular tattoos. Some people get tattoos of their heroes, while others choose mythical beings and religious figures that hold deeper meanings.

Mythical Beings

Medusa Tattoo Meaning

Medusa Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @kaynantattoo

The Medusa tattoo meaning TikTok trend is huge. A tattoo of medusa has come to symbolize female strength in the face of assault – it recognizes that women are not at fault or to be blamed for being victims of sexual assault. Any woman with a medusa tattoo is symbolizing their empowerment and strength too.

Medusa is a figure in Greek mythology, best known for having snakes for hair and eyes that would turn you to stone. The myth suggests that she was transformed into this monster by Minerva, as a punishment for sex with Neptune/Poseidon.

Mermaid Tattoo Meaning

Mermaid Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @lyndashipley

Mermaids are half woman, half fish, and very beautiful! Besides The Little Mermaid, mermaid tattoos symbolize feminine power and mystery. They’re also closely linked to sea-dwelling creatures (see below) and the oceans in general.

Gods & Religious Figures

Anubis Tattoo Meaning

Anubis Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @felps.tattoo

Anubis is the ancient Egyptian God of Death, most recognizable by his distinctive dog head. As a tattoo, Anubis symbolizes a dark side to the person with the ink. As Anubis also determines what happens to you in the afterlife, it can be a reminder to live fairly and that bad deeds will be punished when this life is over.

Grim Reaper Tattoo Meaning

Grim Reaper Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @brightbones

The Grim Reaper appears in numerous cultures and religions under different names but is most well-known as a skeleton figure in a dark hood, carrying a scythe. It is an obvious symbol of death, guiding the dead to the afterlife, and collecting a person’s soul.

This tattoo can have a very dark meaning, or it can be light-hearted (think of Family Guy’s depiction of death).

Oni Tattoo Meaning

Oni Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @vickikochiss

The Oni is a figure in Japanese folklore, usually depicted as a demon of some kind. They symbolize murder and cannibalism, traditionally! However, the Oni is not purely evil. Their actions and motivations are far more complex. As such, an Oni tattoo symbolizes doing bad deeds but not always pure evil.

The Oni mask tattoo meaning is slightly different – someone wearing a mask (or having a mask tattoo) is a symbol of protection from bad luck and other demons.

Influential People

Buddha Tattoo Meaning

Buddha Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @bangherangtattoo

Buddha is an ancient Indian religious leader and teacher who founded Buddhism. A tattoo of buddha can represent Buddhist faith, enlightenment, and Nirvana (the end of suffering). Buddha literally means “awakened one”.

Geisha Tattoo Meaning

Geisha Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @bayun.tattoos

Geisha are female Japanese performers who entertain through traditional song, dance, and music. As a tattoo, geishas are symbols of elegance, creativity, performance, and traditional Japanese values. Geisha tattoos are often combined with Hannya masks (see objects) and flowers – usually cherry blossoms/Sakura.

Samurai Tattoo Meaning

Samurai Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @igorvanderlaan

Samurai were military nobility in Japan – fierce warriors and a ruling political class. A tattoo of a samurai signifies loyalty, indifference to pain, perseverance, power, and responsibility.

Tattoo Meanings: Based on Symbols and Shapes

Some symbols and shapes may seem meaningless, but there’s some powerful meanings behind these tattoos!

Minimalist Symbols

2 Lines Tattoo Meaning

2 Lines Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @portobellotattoo

Two lines can be simple bands or be 2-line drawings – a drawing made with a continuous line. If the lines are crossed, see cross tattoo meaning below. In general, 2 basic straight lines can represent balance, harmony, or opposites. It may also be a tally or way for the person to count something – they’ll add more lines as necessary.

3 Dot Tattoo Meaning

3 Dot Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @indigogoose

The three dots tattoo meaning varies. If the 3 dots are in a triangle shape, it can mean “I am enough.” On the other hand, a 3-dot tattoo can signify that you are part of a gang or a criminal in prison – the 3 dots can mean “my crazy life” to some South American gangs. If the 3 dots are inked on the face or hand, it’s most likely gang related.

Armband Tattoo Meaning

Armband Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @zatoka.tatuazu

The black band tattoo meaning is all about death and loss. Typically, a black armband tattoo signifies that the person has lost a loved one. Each additional band represents another person they have lost. The tattoo is a permanent memorial.

Moon Tattoo Meaning

Moon Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @oneyoungtt

A moon tattoo often represents the light in the dark. Moons are ethereal, romantic, and represent beauty too. The crescent moon tattoo meaning may be slightly different, indicating that you haven’t fully realized your true beauty or potential – you are still on a journey.

Semicolon Tattoo Meaning

Semicolon Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @golddustkim

The meaning of the semicolon tattoo is closely linked to solidarity against suicide and depression – or any mental health issue like anxiety. In grammar, a semicolon is used when a sentence is broken into two parts. Rather than ending a sentence with a period, a semicolon suggests that there’s more to come. So, a semicolon tattoo indicates that the story is not over and that you are choosing to move forward and continue with life.

Star Tattoo Meaning

Star Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @gabsumi

A star is a shining light in the darkness. A star tattoo represents honor, guidance, and hope above all else. A constellation of stars can have an even deeper meaning, like a zodiac. We can navigate by the stars, so they are considered guiding lights to help you through dark experiences.

Sun and Moon Tattoo Meaning

Sun and Moon Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @karpa.tattoo

The sun and moon can symbolize circles and cycles – night and day. It can also represent opposites and balance, like yin and yang. However, a sun and moon tattoo can also mean romance and love. In certain myths and legends, the sun and moon are lovers or family members who can never be together.

Sun Tattoo Meaning

Sun Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @e.milkyway.1

The sun brings light and life to the Earth, so it’s a huge symbol of new life and positivity when tattooed on your body. A sun tattoo can also symbolize faith and truth. Dawn, or a rising sun, symbolizes emerging from a dark period of your life.

Triangle Tattoo Meaning

Triangle Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @helleborus_tattoo

Triangles can be combined to create cultural symbols, like the valknut symbol below. But a simple triangle tattoo often symbolizes wisdom, balance, and connection. It can also represent family, especially if a couple is welcoming their first child (representing the 3 sides of the triangle).

Tattoo Meanings: Religious and Cultural Symbols

All Seeing Eye Tattoo Meaning

All Seeing Eye Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @tattooartist.martin.scholz

The all-seeing eye is a symbol that has been passed through many cultures and civilizations. It’s nearly always a symbol of a God or godly entity who can see all and is watching you. As a tattoo, it can be a reminder that your actions are always being watched and judged. The all-seeing eye can also be linked to Freemasonry.

ANBU Tattoo Meaning

ANBU Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @matzz.ink

The ANBU tattoo is a symbol from the manga series Naruto. It is a symbol tattooed on members of Leaf Village’s ANBU forces – it’s typically tattooed on the upper arm and signifies membership.

Ankh Tattoo Meaning

Ankh Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @dusrich

The ankh is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that represents life. So, the ankh tattoo symbolizes a love of life, a reminder to live your fullest life, prosperity, and longevity.

Celtic Knot Tattoo Meaning

Celtic Knot Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @sideshowalleytattoo

The Celtic knot symbolizes Celtic pride and a sense of belonging to community. The loops and cycles within the Celtic knot can also represent the cycle of life and death. There are also different kinds of Celtic knots, like the love knot.

Cross Tattoo Meaning

Cross Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @inkfactorybg

In Christianity, the cross symbolizes the sacrifice Jesus made for all of us. It’s worn (or tattooed on) as a sign of faith and dedication. The Christian cross is longer vertically than horizontally.

Evil Eye Tattoo Meaning

Evil Eye Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @azraelstudios

Despite the malignant-sounding name, the evil eye tattoo is usually a symbol of protection. It will stare down bad omens and negative energies! The origins on the evil eye legends date back to the 6th century in Greece.

Eye of Horus Tattoo Meaning

Eye of Horus Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @leozintattoose

The eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol that represents healing, protection, and well-being. This tattoo is also known as the wedjat eye or udjat eye.

Eye of Ra Tattoo Meaning

Eye of Ra Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @irmtraud.ttt

The eye of Ra is also an ancient Egyptian symbol; however, this tattoo symbolizes the sun, royal authority, and feminine independence. More generally, it’s a symbol of light.

As a symbol, the eye of Ra is simply a circle or disc (like the sun) so often the eye of Horus is mistakenly used instead.

Hamsa Tattoo Meaning

Hamsa Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @emma.tatt

The Hamsa symbol is like a hand placed flat, with the palm facing toward you. It’s used in numerous cultures and represents protection and devotion. For some people, it is also a symbol of luck and is richly decorated with patterns and even henna designs.

Mandala Tattoo Meaning

Mandala Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @tilly.ink

Mandalas are symbols of the universe and are used for meditation by various Asian cultures and religions. People love getting mandalas as tattoos because they are so beautifully aesthetic.

Third Eye Tattoo Meaning

Third Eye Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @felicia_lozoya

The third eye is more of a concept than a physical eye! Often located between and above your two seeing eyes, the third eye can perceive unseen and hidden things. A third eye tattoo symbolizes wisdom, imagination, foresight, and a connection with a higher power.

Unalome Tattoo Meaning

Unalome Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @yogalicious_yog

Unalome is a sacred image from Buddhism and represents the journey toward enlightenment. As it’s a sacred symbol, it’s best not to get this tattoo on a whim or for frivolous reasons. It is often combined with the lotus flower (see below).

Valknut Tattoo Meaning

Valknut Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @zizusdrawing

The Valknut symbol, also known as the 3-triangle tattoo, is connected to Norse mythology, and is found on Viking runes. It is a symbol of the dead, and often means relates to birth/life/death and other cycles that come in 3 parts (e.g., Earth, heaven, and hell).

Yin Yang Tattoo Meaning

Yin Yang Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @_jessy.png

As one of the most popular tattoo symbols, the yin and yang emblem symbolizes how contradictory forces (e.g., good, and evil) are interlinked. As a tattoo, it often means that there is good and bad in all people and represents a healthy balance.

Other Symbols

Chin Stripe Tattoo Meaning

A tattoo strip from the bottom lip over the chin is a tribal tattoo that symbolizes protection from enemy raids for men and reaching maturity for women/girls. This is prevalent in Māori and Eskimo history.

Crying Heart Tattoo Meaning

Crying Heart Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @yannickxschmidt

The crying heart tattoo represents sadness and a lost love – this may be a broken heart, lost romantic love, or a lost relative or family member.

Eye Tattoo Meaning

Eye Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @mubodyarts

There are many different eye symbols, but a simple eye that’s unrelated to any religion or culture has a meaning of its own. These eye tattoos symbolize life itself, as well as guidance, foresight, wisdom, and protection.

Infinity Tattoo Meaning

Infinity Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @zeetattoooz

Infinity is often represented as a figure 8, an endless loop. It signifies everything that’s eternal and endless, like life and death, love, and other spiritual concepts.

Lightning Bolt Tattoo Meaning

Lightning Bolt Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @nice_kid_will

As well as being a meaningful tattoo for any Potterhead, a lightning bolt tattoo signifies power and the ability to make quick decisions. It means you are quick on your feet and can make changes and choices confidently and swiftly.

Trident Tattoo Meaning

Trident Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @caniosciaraffiay

The trident symbol is a three-pronged spear that’s often associated with water Gods, like Neptune… or Aquaman. It can simply symbolize that you are a king of the ocean (e.g., you have mastered a water sport) and is associated with other water-related tattoos, like anchors.

Tattoo Meanings: Words and Numbers

Not all quotes, numbers and words are self-explanatory…

13 Tattoo Meaning

13 tattoo meaning
Credit: @barriosagradotattoo

The number 13 can be a lucky or unlucky number as a tattoo, depending on your preference and beliefs. Getting 13 tattooed on you is supposed to protect you from bad luck. It is also a symbol of being an outcast or outsider.

444 Tattoo Meaning

444 Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @macyxxs

444 could be a number that holds a personal meaning, or it could be an angel number. 444 is said to be a message from the angels indicating that change is coming, and you should plan for the future. As a tattoo, it indicates looking toward the future and being prepared for anything.

777 Tattoo Meaning

777 Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @tattoosbystephaniie

7 is considered a lucky number, so 777 is a popular tattoo to get for luck. As an angel number tattoo, it represents success, growth, and perfection – it can be a symbol of confidence!

999 Tattoo Meaning

999 Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @nikastattooartistry

While 666 is thought of as the number of the devil, 999 is the opposite – love, joy, peace, and heaven. It usually symbolizes a reward after a long journey and is closely linked to faith.

igy6 Tattoo Meaning

igy6 Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @benjibrah

igy6 stands for ‘I got your six’, meaning that someone has your back and is protecting you or looking out for you. A big brother may get this tattoo to represent how they always have their younger brother’s back. It’s also linked to mental health.

Laugh Now Cry Later Tattoo Meaning

Laugh Now Cry Later Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @roscoeink

This phrase has many different interpretations. It could be a tattoo to remind the owner to take things seriously – if you laugh about it now, you’ll be crying about it later. It could also be a line like YOLO, reminding the owner to laugh about their mistakes instead of being so serious, and worry about the important things later. It could also be a quote from a Drake song.

Roman Numerals Tattoo Meaning

Roman Numerals Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @teil.aubry

When a tattoo uses Roman numerals instead of numbers, it often signifies something historical in that person’s life. Usually, it’s a date or number that means a lot to them. The exact meaning depends on the number!

Tattoo Meanings: Animals, Insects & Creatures

An animal tattoo – is it a symbol, a spirit animal, a guide animal, a pet? Who knows! We’ve split this section into insects (and arachnids), water creatures, land mammals, reptiles, mythical creatures, and birds.

Insects

Bee Tattoo Meaning

Bee Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @nurai.tattoo

Bees symbolize hard work and a connection to nature. Bees work hard to create honey! They are also a sign of feminine strength, especially queen bees.

Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

Butterfly Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @tattooist_namoo

The meaning of a butterfly tattoo is usually freedom and femininity. It can also represent rebirth and new beginnings, as butterflies emerge from cocoons. The placement and color of the butterfly has meaning too – a blue butterfly symbolizes luck as well as life, and a butterfly behind an ear symbolizes growth.

Dragonfly Tattoo Meaning

Dragonfly Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @grieddles

A dragonfly tattoo means that you are adaptable, agile, and can transform when needed to. Dragonflies can also signify a connection to nature, beauty, and spirituality.

Ladybug Tattoo Meaning

Ladybug Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @hannahmoonart

Ladybug tattoos symbolize happiness, positivity, and a free spirit. In some cultures, ladybugs are also strong symbols of luck and fortune. The number of dots on a ladybug back can have significant and personal meaning too.

Moth Tattoo Meaning

Moth Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @cherryslix

Moth tattoos signify transforming from the darkness and seeking the light, like a moth does. However, there’s also significant death moth tattoo meaning – moths can be a symbol of death and bad luck. Luna moths, on the other hand, are profoundly positive and signify a resilient personality. It really depends on your interpretation!

Scorpion Tattoo Meaning

Scorpion Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @sketchbrooke_

Scorpions can represent resurrection after death, intimidation, violence, and fear. They also represent strength, no matter your size – did you know that the smaller the scorpion, the more deadly its sting? It’s no surprise that some gangs and criminal organizations choose scorpion tattoos.

Spider Tattoo Meaning

Spider Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @empiretattoodewey

All manner of arachnid tattoos signify intrigue, cunning, agility, and a knack for survival. Black widow tattoos are also a symbol of female strength and empowerment.

Ocean & Sea Creatures

Jellyfish Tattoo Meaning

Jellyfish Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @karinamadz.tattoo

Jellyfish are beautiful and tranquil… but they have a sting! They symbolize elegance and mystery, with a slightly sinister and ethereal undertone.

Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning

Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @haree_tattoo_studio

Koi fish tattoos mean strength, perseverance, overcoming struggles, and are a symbol of luck (especially for men). If the koi fish tattoo is swimming upstream, it signifies that you are overcoming difficulties. If it swims downstream, it signifies that you’ve already achieved success.

Octopus Tattoo Meaning

Octopus Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @minajewart

The octopus is complex, diverse, and a little mysterious. As a tattoo, it symbolizes a dark past but ultimately finding the light. Octopuses are also symbols of flexibility and defense.

Shark Tattoo Meaning

Shark Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @joesilltorres

Shark tattoos symbolize confidence, fearlessness, and curiosity. In Polynesian cultures, a shark tattoo may also represent protection and guidance.

Turtle Tattoo Meaning

Turtle Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @ditu.tattoo

The sea turtle tattoo meaning comes from their fertility, longevity, and stability. Encased in a hard shell, turtles are great symbols of protection and immortality. Turtles are nearly always positive!

Land Mammals

Bat Tattoo Meaning

Bat Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @trickbat

Bats make for gothic tattoos. They symbolize communication, rebirth, and even wisdom. There’s a lot of negativities attached to bats, but it really depends on the style and type of bat you get inked.

Bear Tattoo Meaning

Bear Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @odenzart

Bears are strong, confident, and fierce creatures. The king of the forest! Bears can also be linked to California, being a mother (mama bear), and Winnie the Pooh. Some bears also have spiritual meaning.

Elephant Tattoo Meaning

Elephant Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @bryonyrhiain__

Elephants are thought of as gentle giants (although the truth may be a bit different) that symbolize loyalty, patience, longevity, remembrance, and wisdom. A small elephant tattoo is often a lucky symbol or a token for a lost loved one.

Fox Tattoo Meaning

Fox Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @karolina.wilczewska.tattoo

Foxes are predators. They’re cunning, sexy, intelligent, mischievous, and lovable in a roguish way. Overall, a fox tattoo indicates a level of swiftness and intelligence that’s lurking beneath the surface.

Gorilla Tattoo Meaning

Gorilla Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @markullmantattoos

Gorillas represent great strength and intelligence above all else. As a tattoo, this mammal also represents a connection to ancestry and nature – remembering your roots. Gorillas have a lot of dignity and honor.

Lion Tattoo Meaning

Lion Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @tati_ferrigno

A lion tattoo signifies power, nature, and virility. The lion is also a Christian symbol that indicates Jesus’ struggle and sacrifice. A lion tattoo can also represent loyalty.

Similarly, a lioness tattoo means ferociousness, femininity, intelligence, and female empowerment. She is also the symbol for the goddess Sekhmet.

Panther Tattoo Meaning

Panther Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @tillydee

A panther tattoo is a symbol of boldness and bravery, while still maintaining grace. The panther is an admirable predator. The black panther tattoo can also be an ode to Marvel’s Black Panther movie and the late Chadwick Boseman.

Tiger Tattoo Meaning

Tiger Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @tattooist_eq

The tiger represents nobility, courage, strength, and power. They are also a popular animal guide and spirit guide, offering protection and luck.

Wolf Tattoo Meaning

Wolf Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @paulworkz_studio

Wolves hunt in packs and are symbols of brotherhood, faithfulness to family, justice, and strength. A lone wolf tattoo can also mean freedom, protection, and wilderness.

Reptiles

Snake Tattoo Meaning

Snake Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @nathanstattoosandpiercings

Snakes are strong symbols of rebirth, regeneration, and survival. They are often incorporated into over tattoos, slithering around an object to represent immortality or unpredictability. Many religious people see snakes in a negative light, however.

Mythical Creatures

Dragon Tattoo Meaning

Dragon Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @deriksorato

Dragon tattoo meanings are diverse, but in general they represent courage, strength, freedom, and the ability to make your own decisions and control your own fate. The color is also important – a red dragon is said to symbolize toughness and individuality. There’s a difference in style too – a Chinese dragon represents good luck, fortune, and protection while a Japanese dragon tattoo is more associated with wisdom and life experience.

Foo Dog Tattoo Meaning

Foo Dog Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @swan_tattooer

A foo dog is a Japanese guardian lion. A foo dog tattoo therefore signifies protection, success, and guardianship. They will stare down and intimidate your enemies.

Phoenix Tattoo Meaning

Phoenix Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @shiraunicorn

Phoenix tattoos represent rebirth, resurrection, life, fierceness, and endurance. They are very symbolic of achieving success after hardship. Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

Birds

Cardinal Tattoo Meaning

Cardinal Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @rclarketattoos

Cardinals are small yet vibrant red birds that protect their territory passionately. They represent love, hope, loyalty, and ferociousness when protecting loved ones.

Crow Tattoo Meaning

Crow Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @mooho.oriental

Crows symbolize change and transformation to help you find your destiny. Crows are survivors and represent strength. Like many birds, they are often combined with flowers in tattoos.

Dove Tattoo Meaning

Dove Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @nyahzul

Doves represent peace and love, particularly for anyone who is religious. A dove tattoo can represent faith and innocence as well.

Eagle Tattoo Meaning

Eagle Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @billy.meira

Courage, freedom, and bravery are represented by an eagle tattoo. These are very proud and hardy birds. Eagles are often associated with patriotism and native American cultures too.

Hummingbird Tattoo Meaning

Hummingbird Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @topotattoo

Hummingbirds signify joy in freedom. Seeing a hummingbird tattoo should bring a smile to your face! Hummingbird tatts are generally more popular with women.

Owl Tattoo Meaning

Owl Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @txttooing

A wise old owl! Typically, owl tattoos represent wisdom, vision, and hope. They are also very magical and mystical birds – if you have a sixth sense, an owl tattoo is a good fit.

Peacock Tattoo Meaning

Peacock Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @desi.rella

Peacocks symbolize beauty, grace, and love. They are also a representation of your sexuality – vibrant and eye-catching. A popular tattoo for people with bold personalities.

Raven Tattoo Meaning

Raven Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @sharonhealyarts

Ravens are associated with wisdom, foresight, and deep knowledge. They have close ties to Greek, Norse, and Native American mythology – all of which recognize the intelligence of this amazing bird.

Sparrow Tattoo Meaning

Sparrow Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @tattoosillustrate

Sparrows represent happiness and joy through their cheerful and up-beat birdsong. They are similar in appearance to swallows (see below) but are less to-do with travel.

Swallow Tattoo Meaning

Swallow Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @ari_tattooer

Swallows are one of the animals that are popular tattooed in the American Traditional style. They represent returning home after a long journey and maintaining faith, as swallows are migratory birds.

Tattoo Meanings: Flowers and Foliage

Flowers are popular tattoo designs, and not just with women. Here you can find a list of the most common flower tattoo meanings, plus a few foliage options as well.

Flowers

Cherry Blossom Tattoo Meaning

Cherry Blossom Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @donghwa_tattoo

Cherry blossom, also known as Sakura in Japanese, symbolizes nature and beauty. It is also a symbol of spring and new life… though it is a reminder of the fragility of it all.

Chrysanthemum Tattoo Meaning

Chrysanthemum Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @the_darling_parlour

Chrysanthemum flowers represent generosity, man’s greatness, and rewards! Chrysanthemum literally means gold flower and is significant in numerous Asian countries.

Daisy Tattoo Meaning

Daisy Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @handitrip

Daisies represent loyalty and love above all else. It’s also a symbol of simple, uncomplicated love and innocence – especially when the tattoo is a daisy chain or crown.

Dandelion Tattoo Meaning

Dandelion Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @rovertattooing

Dandelion tattoos, usually depicting the dandelion head in seed rather than flower, signify change and transformation. They are also hopeful symbols and show a positive attitude toward change.

Hibiscus Tattoo Meaning

Hibiscus Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @eso_tattoo

Hibiscus flowers grow in Hawaii and are a tattoo that shows respect for the Islanders. Often bright in color, a yellow hibiscus bloom symbolizes friendship, and a red hibiscus bloom symbolizes love and passion.

Lavender Tattoo Meaning

Lavender Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @cathy.artwork

Lavender symbolizes purity and elegance. It’s also a symbol of peace and wellness – imagine standing in a tranquil lavender field in Provence, South France.

Lily Tattoo Meaning

Lily Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @barbielongfox

The meaning of a lily tattoo depends on the type of lily. For example, the lily of the valley tattoo means sincerity and purity, while a peace lily represents peace (duh), and a tiger lily symbolizes motherhood and rebirth.

Lotus Flower Tattoo Meaning

Lotus Flower Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @gash520250

The lotus tattoo meaning is closely associated to Buddhist values of peace and enlightenment. The lotus flower, and the lotus position in yoga, is a great tattoo to symbolize focus, peace, and faith.

Orchid Tattoo Meaning

Orchid Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @whewyang.tattoo

Orchids in general signify purity, beauty, refinement, and elegance. The color of the orchid is also very important. Typically, white orchids signify innocence and blue orchids signify peace and Zen.

Peony Tattoo Meaning

Peony Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @mellyymae

Peonies represent beauty and love, just like a rose. But they also signify prosperity and nobility. They are also associated with numerous Asian folklores.

Rose Tattoo Meaning

Rose Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @tattooist__ria

Roses are symbols of romantic love and passion – a red rose particularly. But other colors are symbolic too. Black roses mean tragic love, devotion, and strength. Blue roses mean mysterious or unattainable love.

Sunflower Tattoo Meaning

Sunflower Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @whewyang.tattoo

Sunflowers are symbols of positivity, warmth, energy, and loyalty. They represent the sun, which gives life, joy, and warmth to everything on the planet.

Trees, Shrubs and Plants

Fern Tattoo Meaning

Fern Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @madelinemiller.tattoo

Ferns are associated with luck and protection. They are mystical and mythical plants too, as they have been with us throughout human history and the growth of civilization.

Leaf Tattoo Meaning

Leaf Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @liana_joy_tattoo

Leaves are symbols of nature and the changing seasons. Different leaves have different meanings, but in general they represent new beginnings and overcoming trauma or difficulties in life.

Olive Branch Tattoo Meaning

Olive Branch Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @paradox_tattoos

An olive branch tattoo symbolizes peace, remembrance, and promises. Giving an olive branch to another is a symbol of making peace, and making a lifelong promise that you’ll never break.

Palm Tree Tattoo Meaning

Palm Tree Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @tattooist_usol

Palm tree tattoos are a symbol of LA and love for the city of angels. It can also represent peace, truth, and honor, especially remembering to be truthful with yourself and find inner peace.

Pine Tree Tattoo Meaning

Pine Tree Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @dianaveidenthaler.ink

Pine trees are hardy, resistant, evergreen trees that stand tall and proud. They represent serenity and a long, fulfilling life.

Tree of Life Tattoo Meaning

Tree of Life Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @isamu.ink

Tree of life is a symbol of wisdom and growth, both physically and spiritually. It’s mentioned in many faiths and religions, including Christianity.

Vine Tattoo Meaning

Vine Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @claritycreature

Vines signify endurance, progress, strength, and survival. A vine can also symbolize a deep connection and tie to another person.

Tattoo Meanings: Objects

People have all manner of objects tattooed on their skin. Many have personal meanings that you’d never guess in a million years. Others are a little more understandable…

Lucky Objects

8 Ball Tattoo Meaning

8 Ball Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @sticknsoof

The 8 ball is considered the luckiest ball in the game of pool, and it also signifies dominance – you are the best at pool!

Ace of Spades Tattoo Meaning

Ace of Spades Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @claire.testore

The ace of spades represents wealth, luck, success, and fortune – especially for gambling. It may appear as a playing card or just the spade symbol.

Crown Tattoo Meaning

Crown Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @yubeen___

Crown tattoos symbolize loyalty, dominance, and relationships – you are the king or queen of your partner’s heart. They are also lucky symbols.

Dice Tattoo Meaning

Dice Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @glenntattooer

Dice are a symbol of luck and taking chances. The numbers showing on the dice are also important. If 2 die show snake eyes, this is a sign of bad luck instead.

Queen of Hearts Tattoo Meaning

Queen of Hearts Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @mamatried.tattoosmith

A queen of hearts tattoo is a lucky symbol, as it’s a playing card, and it also represents willpower, sexual desire, and feminine power.

Natural Objects

Bull Skull Tattoo Meaning

Bull Skull Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @artisticandsadistic

A bull skull, usually depicted with horns still attached, represents courage, strength, and protection. It can also be a symbol of death, e.g., courage and strength until you die.

Cherry Tattoo Meaning

Cherry Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @tattoo.haneul

Kindness, sweetness, and sympathy are all closely linked to cherry tattoos. They can also symbolize loss of innocence, fertility, and lust.

Feather Tattoo Meaning

Feather Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @dvminiquex

Feathers are often spiritual tattoos and are symbols of purity, freedom, faith, and enlightenment. If the feather is from a specific bird, it may also have cultural meaning.

Forearm Wing Tattoo Meaning

Forearm Wing Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @hitlistink

A wing tattooed on the forearm is a symbol of freedom, specifically of self-freedom. A wing in this placement symbolizes that they are free of any shackles that once held them back.

Pineapple Tattoo Meaning

Pineapple Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @no.aka.tattooer

A pineapple tattoo symbolizes joy, relaxation, and calmness. Like palm trees, they have beach vibes.

Sacred Heart Tattoo Meaning

Sacred Heart Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @hectorlopeztattoo

A sacred heart tattoo is usually depicted as a heart with a dagger or thorns piercing it. This tattoo symbolizes undying and eternal love, often for Christ or faith in general.

Skull Tattoo Meaning

Skull Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @sagaegrim

Although skull tattoos symbolize death and fear, they don’t express a happiness about it! Instead, they symbolize that you are living life to the fullest the face of fear and death.

Spider Web Tattoo Meaning

Spider Web Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @hoonboy

Spider webs can have very positive connotations, including protection and home. However, they are also strong symbols of negativity – a trap.

Teardrop Tattoo Meaning

Teardrop Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @soicytattoos

A teardrop tattoo signifies grief and hardship but is most associated with prisoners and gang culture. A teardrop by the eye may signify that they have taken a life.

Wave Tattoo Meaning

Wave Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @heim__tattoo

Wave tattoos symbolize peace, repetition, serenity, and movement. They are also popular with people who were born in coastal regions or love the ocean.

Womb Tattoo Meaning

Womb Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @_je_to_on_

Also referred to as Inmon in Japanese, this is a crest-shaped tattoo that sits on the lower stomach or near the genitals on women. It signifies sexual power.

Manmade Objects

Anchor Tattoo Meaning

Anchor Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @ceud4

An anchor tattoo is a symbol of stability, strength, and pride. It’s not just for sailors and anyone who loves the sea. Like the roots of a tree, it “anchors” you to home.

Arrow Tattoo Meaning

Arrow Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @kings_tattoostudio

Arrows symbolize protection, defense, and hunting. It’s a symbol of power and strength – the ability to survive. It’s a popular tattoo for both men and women.

Barbed Wire Tattoo Meaning

Barbed Wire Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @loz_tattooer

A barbed wire tattoo is a symbol of courage, imprisonment, and defense – you have walls up around you. Barbed wire around a heart also symbolizes previous trauma, or a love/hate relationship.

Clock Tattoo Meaning

Clock Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @chynnajade.tattoos

Clock tattoos are symbols of time – a reminder of the time you have left to live, or the time you spent with a loved one who has passed. A broken clock, on the other hand, symbolizes indifference to life or freedom from the concept of time.

Compass Tattoo Meaning

Compass Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @tattoo_artist_olive

Often combined with nautical-themed imagery, a compass tattoo symbolizes finding your true path, guidance, protection, and journeys.

Dagger Tattoo Meaning

Dagger Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @chloelunasolis

Dagger tattoos represent bravery, protection, stealth, and survival. They can also be symbols of treachery and deceit, but rarely in tattoo form.

Diamond Tattoo Meaning

Diamond Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @kunva.tattooman

Diamonds signify luxury, money, and wealth as well as marriage and love – like a diamond wedding ring.

Dream Catcher Tattoo Meaning

Dream catchers are important artifacts with a lot of cultural meaning for Native Americans. They symbolize hopes, dreams, and protection from bad vibes. Make sure your tattoos are respectful to the rich culture and meanings behind dreamcatchers.

Hannya Mask Tattoo Meaning

Hannya Mask Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @irisjaspersetattoos

Japanese hannya masks may appear frightening, but they are symbols of strength and anger. They may be tattooed as a symbol of protection too.

Hourglass Tattoo Meaning

Hourglass Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @seahagtattoo

Like the clock tattoo meaning, an hourglass symbolizes the importance of time and why it’s so important to remember that we aren’t immortal! Live in the moment.

Lighthouse Tattoo Meaning

Lighthouse Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @az_tattooer

Lighthouse tattoos symbolize guidance, as they prevent ships from crashing into rocks. They are also a symbol of hope and good against evil, as they shine a light in dark places.

Sword Tattoo Meaning

Sword Tattoo Meaning
Credit: @woni_plant

Sword tattoos are steeped in meaning. They signify protection, strength, and courage. They are also a way to symbolize your purity – you have used the weapon to purge evil from your life.

Tattoo Meanings: More FAQs

Do tattoos have to mean something?

Many tattoos have special meanings, but they don’t have to be meaningful. One of the main reasons people get a specific tattoo is simply because they like the design. After all, it is art.

What is the henna tattoo meaning?

Henna is a temporary tattoo that’s traditionally used for celebrations, symbolizing love, and happiness in the Hindu religion.

What are the best tattoo ideas for women with meaning?

Some of the most popular tattoo ideas for women include butterflies, roses, stars, and zodiac signs, symbolizing individuality, beauty, confidence, and fate.

What are the best tattoo ideas for men with meaning?

Some of the most popular tattoo ideas for men include skulls, crosses, roses, eagles, wolves, and owls, typically symbolizing strength, wisdom, and faith.

Tattoo between breast meaning?

A tattoo placed between the breasts is near or over the heart, indicating love or that the tattoo symbol is held dear to them. It is also a sign of femininity and wholeness.

What do mixed tattoos mean?

Tattoos that feature more than one object or animal, e.g., a snake and rose tattoo or snake and dagger tattoo, have more complex meanings. Just combine the meanings of the individual subjects using our index above.

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