Birds are amazing creatures who many perceive as representing freedom as they are never tied down to one place and can fly freely wherever they choose. They have been intriguing mankind for ages. With more than 10,000 species to choose from there is a lot of avian inspiration.
Some of the most popular birds used in ... Read more
Seahorse Tattoo Meaning
Seahorses are a type of tiny fish with a horse-like head but body of a fish and prehensile tail. They are an ancient creature whose image has been connected to the Greek myth of the Hippocampus, or sea-horse. A seahorse-like creature, it was large and powerful with the front legs of a horse ... Read more
Sacred Heart Tattoo Meaning
The Sacred Heart is a cherished Christian image that portrays the incredible love that Jesus Christ holds for all of humanity. The red heart is flaming, encased in barbed wire, pierced with a knife or sword and embedded with a crucifix. It is often pictured in front of Christ’s chest, emphasizing the ... Read more
Lips Tattoo Meaning
Lips, particularly female, are used often as an image to represent erogenous and intimate activity, especially when pictured in a color or pattern associated with passion. Red lips are usually meant to convey sex appeal and kissing especially when placed in an intimate area like on the hips, neck, abdomen, etc. This is ... Read more
Hannya Mask Tattoo Meaning
The Hannya mask is a traditional Japanese mask used in Noh theatrical performances, kyogen theatre and Shinto kagura dances. It is a representation of a jealous woman driven mad and transformed into a horrible demon. The mask features two sharp, pointed horns, heavy, sorrowful eyes and a wide, screaming mouth. There are ... Read more
Fleur de Lis Tattoo Meaning
The Fleur de Lis/Lys is an iconic symbol of Frankish and other Western European nobilities. It is a representation of honor, nobility, dignity and integrity. It is a symbol of strength that is found ubiquitously on coats of arms and city emblems around the world. The symbol of the Fleur de ... Read more
Roman Numeral Tattoo Meaning
Roman numerals were developed in ancient Rome over centuries using the letters of the Latin alphabet, I, V, X, L, C, D, and M. This numerical system was used exclusively in Western Europe until the adaptation and development of the current Hindu-Arabic originated system. The Roman system relies on the adding of ... Read more
Pocket Watch Tattoo Meaning
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the pocket watch was a personal timepiece most often carried by men in order to keep time. Pocket watches were often given as special gifts or handed down as heirlooms through the patriarchal line of the family. They made significant presents because they could be designed ... Read more
Yin Yang Tattoo Meaning
The yin yang symbol, or Taijitu, is a black and white image that derives from Ancient Chinese philosophy and is significant in Taoism today. It shows a complete symmetry within the structure of the symbol, a representation of the harmony of the balance of the universe. The cosmic forces of the universe ... Read more
Maori Tattoo Meaning
The Maori are a tribe of Polynesian peoples, native to Polynesia but settled in New Zealand for hundreds of years. As with most peoples from Polynesia, the Maori have very distinct tribal imagery that has been used for tattooing for centuries. These tattoos are known as Moko, a sacred art that has been ... Read more
Jellyfish Tattoo Meaning
Jellyfish are actually not fish but a type of sea creature with its own category. They are an ancient sea animal, dating back hundreds of millions of years, making them one of the oldest evolved creatures. While they are ancient animals, they do not rely on gills, lungs, or a heart like most ... Read more
Ankh Tattoo Meaning
An Egyptian symbol of love and life, the two are interconnected in an inseparable way with the Ankh, also known as the crux ansata in Latin. This cross-like sign is one of the most common in Egyptian iconography, pictured with all of the gods and goddesses of their religious tradition. Additionally, it is ... Read more
Geometric Tattoo Meaning
A geometric pattern contains one design (usually of multiple shapes) that is repeated over a field to create a motif. The design is precise and continuous. Geometric shapes, any shapes with any number of symmetrical sides, are figures that can be described by mathematics. These shapes often fit together to make a geometrical ... Read more
Buddha Tattoo Meaning
A Buddha is a Buddhist individual who has obtained nirvana, the state of supreme enlightenment. This elevated soul is an incredible teacher and model of finding contentment within the current life state. The image of a Buddha is a representation of the intricate path of Buddhist beliefs and ritual, a tribute to the ... Read more
Circle Tattoo Meaning
One of the most basic, yet powerful, symbols, the circle is a representation of the universe in its most simple form. It is a primal symbol that portrays life and the cycle that leads to death and back to life again. The circle represents the cyclical nature of the universe and all life ... Read more
Barcode Tattoo Meaning
The series of thick and thin lines that make up a barcode are an intricate design that relates specific information to a scanner. This scanner reads that barcode and reveals that information. The barcode as an image can hold a plethora of meanings, each particular to the individual who bears it. It can ... Read more
Ampersand Tattoo Meaning
The ampersand is an allusive image that can represent a plethora of significant meanings depending on the intent of the symbol. Above all else, it is a symbol of continuation, an additive relic from the Latin language that is completely inclusive.
The ampersand (&) is a typographical symbol that was created from condensing the ... Read more
Lighthouse Tattoo Meaning
For centuries, the lighthouse has served as a beacon of warning, to deter ships from crashing into the rock face and other dangerous crags. Because their function is to light up the darkness in order to direct the stray towards a safe passage, they are seen as a good omen. They have long ... Read more
Ship Tattoo Meaning
An obvious symbol of a water-lover, the ship can mean many things. Most literally, it conveys life away from the land, living on the undulation of the ocean waves and air. The image of a ship is the image of a place away from the daily grind and away from the pressure of ... Read more
Shark Tattoo Meaning
The image of a shark is automatically terrifying as sharks are known as vicious, hungry killers. While this is true, their predatory skills are set on devouring fish and other sea creatures, rather than humans. Nonetheless, when placed in a body of water with a shark, the effect is one of utter terror. ... Read more
Sunflower Tattoo Meaning
The sunflower (Helianthus, Greek for sun flower) is a tall, thick-stalked flowering plant with large, bright yellow petals and smaller, darker petals in the center. They are indigenous to North and South America, but most commonly found in North America. They are popular for their tall stature, hardy roots and stalks, and the ... Read more
Samurai Tattoo Meaning
Hailing from traditional Japanese military hierarchy, the Samurai were noble warriors trained from birth to be masters of battle. Their distinctive armor and prevalence in traditional Japanese art work creates an iconic image of the formidable warrior. It is a representation of strength, bravery, tact, discipline and above all else, honour.
Often accompanied by ... Read more
Panther Tattoo Meaning
The panther is broad term that includes all large jungle cats from all around the globe including jaguars, cougars, and leopards (leopards are indigenous to Africa and Asia while jaguars and cougars are indigenous to North/South America).
The black panther, a misnomer referring to any large, black, clawed jungle or forest-dwelling cougar, leopard, ... Read more
Moth Tattoo Meaning
The moth is a nocturnal winged insect that gestates within a cocoon until fully developed. They are an ancient group of insects with hundreds of thousands of species around the world. As a prehistoric family, the moth is highly tuned to the flow of the earth and the moon. They are thought to ... Read more
Key Tattoo Meaning
The image of a key almost certainly indicates a secret. When pictured without a lock, the mystery is increased, leaving the question of “what does the key unlock?” A key can be a very personal image, symbolizing an intimate moment or situation that isn’t necessarily meant to be shared with others. If the ... Read more
Mermaid Tattoo Meaning
Mermaids, ancient mythological half-woman/half-fish creatures, dwell in the waters of the ocean, signifying a drive towards the sea. Because they require large bodies of water to survive, the image of the mermaid conveys a thriving aquatic soul. Mermaids have been present in mythology for thousands of years and are noted in the histories ... Read more
Fox Tattoo Meaning
The most common adjective associated with the fox is swift. Foxes are a powerful symbol of cunning and wit, quick in both body and mind. They are an immediate symbol of trickery, craftiness, and skill. Most often used as a pedagogical figure in mythology, the fox is a trickster that often teaches important ... Read more
Tree of Life Tattoo Meaning
The tree of life is a symbol that is ubiquitous to all cultures of the world. Above all else, it is a symbol of life and the interconnections of the universe that sustain life. As a symbol, it is a very powerful image that connects humanity to the earth that gave ... Read more
Gypsy Tattoo Meaning
Gypsy is a term that defines a number of ethnic groups throughout history that have often found ways of living outside of conventional means. Their origins lie in India, eventually dispersing into Western Asia and Europe. The word ‘Gypsy’ can be found in the roots of dozens of languages. Gypsies, the Romani people, ... Read more
Hourglass Tattoo Meaning
The hourglass is a timepiece that has largely been made obsolete with the 16th century invention of the spring-driven mechanical clock. Because of this, the hourglass is a relic of ancient or the pre-modern period that relied on more natural means of time telling. A type of hourglass, the Marine Sandglass is a ... Read more
Geisha Tattoo Meaning
In Japan, a Geisha is an unmarried woman whose life is dedicated to pleasing and entertaining high-paying clientele. The entertainment they provide, often in bath houses, spas, and tea houses, includes the traditional Japanese arts such as playing classical music, preforming dances, games, and the tea ceremony. Their origins are rooted in early ... Read more
Eagle Tattoo Meaning
The eagle is a majestic, predatory bird with distinct, recognizable features. There are dozens of species of eagles found all around the globe and they can all be spotted by their large sharp curved beak and talons. Eagles are a very large type of bird, debatably the largest in the world, which often ... Read more
Dagger Tattoo Meaning
A dagger is generally a symbol of protection of either the self or others. The short sharp-bladed weapon can be easily concealed so indicates the stealth and cunning of the weapon’s owner. Daggers are ancient weapons that have been forged since the dawn of humanity and were used for close combat with others. ... Read more
Hawaiian Tattoo Meaning
The Hawaiian Islands were inhabited by Polynesian people hundreds of years before they were claimed by the United States. The mythology of these people is rich, storied, and full of iconography. The images of these myths are rendered using a combination of geometric shapes and swirls that resemble the land and waves. These ... Read more
Medusa Tattoo Meaning
Medusa is a gorgon, a creature of ancient Greek myth characterized by her fatal gaze and head of snakes. Her image is meant to terrify, turning onlookers into stone. One of three sisters, she is the only mortal and therefore, the only fallible gorgon. She can be depicted either as a beautiful maiden ... Read more
Dove Tattoo meaning
The dove is first and foremost a symbol of peace and tranquility. While the white dove is one of the most popular, globally there are hundreds of different species of doves and pigeons (who are species within the same Family) all of which are variously colored. The white dove is famous throughout history ... Read more
American Flag Tattoo Meaning
The national flag of the United States of America, the American flag, symbolizes their national anthem lyrics naming the USA “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. The bold red stripes are a remnant of the colonization that birthed the United States because they are adapted from the ... Read more
Skull Tattoo Meaning
The skull is an ominous image that is immediately associated with death and the realm of the dead. The skull is a very popular tattoo image and is often used to emphasize a tone of foreboding, peril or the occult. It is used anciently and modernly in ritualistic practice in various cultures around ... Read more
Bow Tattoo Meaning
A bow is generally a very feminine symbol as they are not often worn by men, other than in the form of a bowtie. Bows are generally made with various types of ribbon and worn to adorn hair, clothing and accessories. They are often used on women’s undergarment and lingerie which increases the ... Read more
Jesus Tattoo Meaning
Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago is a figure synonymous with righteousness and a pure morality. The global image of Christianity, Christ is most often pictured in light-colored robes with a gentle expression and halo of light encircling his head.
Promoting goodness and faith in the Christian God, the ... Read more
Guitar Tattoo Meaning
The guitar is an obvious symbol of music and a popular image choice for musicians, particularly those who play guitar. The sound emitted by a guitar can be melodic, piercing, haunting or aggressive, depending on whose hands it rests in. A guitar can either be electric or acoustic depending on the intended message. ... Read more
Sun Tattoo Meaning
The sun has been the most ancient subject of worship in human history and prehistory because of its demanding presence in the sky as well as its life-giving properties. Sunlight is absolutely essential for all living being on Earth and is a common symbol of life, fertility, happiness and power. Because the sun ... Read more
Spider Tattoo Meaning
The arachnid is always a daunting image and is the cause of extreme phobia for many people worldwide because of their poisonous capabilities as well as their multiple legs and eyes. Spiders are a distinct symbol of the wilderness of the jungle and have made prey of both human and animal. They have ... Read more
Snake Tattoo Meaning
The serpent is a resilient and unpredictable creature which has become the subject of phobia for many people. Snakes are deadly predators that often hold deadly, toxic venom within them that makes them a deadly foe for many animals and even humans. Their venoms are also known to be used in certain medicines ... Read more
Clock Tattoo Meaning
The clock most obviously symbolizes the passage of time and on its own can be a very ambiguous image. The style of clock must be considered to convey the most appropriate indications for the tattoo. Clocks have a long history in human civilization and will represent different meanings, depending on the era. Any ... Read more
Crow Tattoo Meaning
The crow, cousin to the raven, is a sleek, jet black and thick-billed bird, often considered one of the world’s most intelligent. With their black blue-hued feathers, black feet and beaks, they have often been associated with death and the dark arts of the occult. Their ability to learn and use tools has ... Read more
Dragonfly Tattoo Meaning
Dragonflies are a type of insect with ancestry that dates back hundreds of millions of years, originating before the age of the dinosaurs. Their presence on Earth is ancient, leading to a significant presence of dragonfly symbolism within human cultures all over the globe. They are an ubiquitous sign for contentment and peacefulness ... Read more
Moon Tattoo Meaning
Because of the moon’s lunar cycle, transitioning throughout the month, the moon and women are inevitably connected. This correlation has authorized the feminine within ancient mythology as powerful and important deities. The moon is a long-standing symbol of the feminine divine and has been worshipped ritualistically as a female deity for thousands of ... Read more
A symbol of royalty and supremacy above others, the crown is the ultimate symbol of power and authority. It represents dignity, divinity and grace as well as a great honor. Commonly, a crown is a Christian image that portrays the glory of Jesus Christ, famously titled King of the Jews by his persecutors. The crown ... Read more
Trees are often viewed as being a symbol of life and strength. They are one of the most symbolic types of tattoos out there. The meaning typically varies based on the type of tree selected.
Although each tree type has its own symbolism, the tree in general symbolizes rejuvenation, regeneration and life. This meaning is derived ... Read more
While the anchor is usually associated with those who work at sea it has been around for a very long time. Initially used during the early days of Christianity, the anchor was used to disguise ones religious beliefs to prevent them from being persecuted. It is said that the anchor also represented Jesus’ connection with ... Read more
The owl is often associated with knowledge and wisdom. They have been thought of as magical and mysterious creatures as well. Owls are a nocturnal member of the Srigiformes group of birds. They sleep during the day and are awake at night. Owls typically eat a mixed diet of small birds and insects. In Greek ... Read more
Koi fish are a legendary fish in Japanese culture. They believe that the koi (or carp as it translates to) has the ability to climb the falls of the Yellow River to become a dragon. Because of this legend, koi fish tattoos often symbolize a person’s goals and aspirations to better themselves.
They are known for ... Read more
Feather tattoos have increased in popularity over the past few years. They are thought to stand for freedom, truth, flight, speed, lightness and ascension.
The symbolism tied to ascension is derived from Native American culture. Chiefs of the tribe would wear feathers as a symbol of their communication with spirit and their celestial wisdom. Feathers were ... Read more
Traditionally considered a Native American symbol, the arrow can hold a wide array of meanings. These meanings can also vary from tribe to tribe. Native Americans are known for using signs and symbols as a way to communicate their history, ideas and dreams. The arrow was a weapon in their culture, it was used to ... Read more
The dragon is a mythical creature whose name is derived from a Greek word meaning “huge serpent”. This creature has ties with several cultures from European folklore and Middle Eastern mythology to Asian influence.
In European culture, dragons were seen as creatures of evil who must be slain by a noble knight. Dragon folklore appeared in ... Read more
The lion is a well-recognized animal and is often referred to as “king of the jungle”. These large, majestic felines command attention with their ferocious roars and extravagant mane. Lions are viewed as tokens of courage, strength, royalty and pride.
In various parts of the globe these noble cats are depicted on statues and in artwork ... Read more
Dreamcatchers are a handmade item in Native American culture. They are comprised of a woven net and are adorned with beads feathers, leather and other similar items. They are typically placed above one’s bed and are believed to let only happy and optimistic dreams pass through while capturing the bad dreams.
The origin of the dreamcatcher ... Read more
The scorpion has well known features such as front claws and the telltale stinger. There are quite a variety of different scorpion species worldwide. These creatures are believed to be over 400 million years old and are closely related to the spider and are a part of the arachnid family.
A scorpion tattoo can hold many ... Read more
The Hamsa symbol is a beautiful design that is backed by traditional and cultural values. It is depicted as a hand with an eye, or other symbol in the palm. Hamsa means “five” in the Hebrew and Arabic languages. This five symbolizes the five fingers on a hand and the five senses that human beings ... Read more
The swallow tattoo was initially used as a symbol by sailors to display their sailing experience. In the early days of sailing, it was usually an image of a barn swallow tattooed on one’s chest, neck or hands. According to legend, one swallow meant the sailor had traveled over 5,000 nautical miles and two swallows ... Read more
The mandala, while in design is dominated by squares or triangles, has a concentric structure and actually translates to “circle” in Sanskrit. These symbols offer visual elements that balance and represent harmony and unity. The mandala is extremely versatile and can carry a number of meanings that are limited only by the creator and the ... Read more
The raven is typically seen as a symbol of darkness, mystery and death, but it can also symbolize the good attributes within a person.
In ancient Europe, with constant war came an overabundance of dead bodies, with the bodies came scavenger creatures who fed upon the decaying remains. Due to the abundance of ravens in the ... Read more
The compass tattoo has been a popular choice among a majority of cultures for centuries. This maritime symbol was popular among early sailors and it was believed that getting a compass tattoo would protect you on rough waters and ensure that you would return home safely.
One of the main reasons sailors opted for this tattoo ... Read more
Japanese style tattoos are quite versatile and can incorporate designs that can work for anyone. From dragons to flowers there are a great number of Japanese images that can comprise a fantastic, meaningful tattoo.
Tattoo designs in Japan are greatly influenced by woodblock prints (or ukiyoe) that were found in novels. The heroes portrayed on these ... Read more
The teardrop tattoo has had negative connotations, but the meaning has seemed to change over the years. This tattoo is typically placed on the face underneath one or both eyes.
It was initially used to convey that a person had spent time in prison, and typically the teardrop meant they had killed someone. Generally they would ... Read more
Peacocks are one of the most color and eye catching avian choices for a tattoo. This vibrant creature depicts beauty and grace, but the meanings are as versatile as the designs.
In ancient folk lore the peacock was symbol of integrity and in Hinduism the wearer of such a tattoo should be considered benevolent and respective ... Read more
The wolf is a very symbolic creature in a variety of cultures. Many believe that the wolf is a powerful symbol and has many great powers.
Native Americans regarded the wolf as a totem animal. A totem animal is a spiritual being sent to help guide us through life. The wolf is a symbol of perseverance ... Read more
The lotus flower is a very popular design for modern day tattoos. This flower is very common in Eastern cultures. In Asia, Egypt, and India the lotus flower is as popular as the rose is in the United States.
In terms of flower symbolism the lotus represents a new beginning and estranged love. It has been ... Read more
The phoenix is a mythical creature that is said to be immortal. It is depicted with great plumage that is typically set ablaze. It is legend that the bird set itself aflame to die and then was born again three days later from the ashes.
This fiery bird is known in a variety of cultures, each ... Read more
The sparrow, while not the flashiest bird type, has become a popular choice for tattoos. Sparrow tattoos are usually associated with freedom, love and commitment.
While many may not see the sparrow as being a bird associated with love it has become a symbol of that over the years. When these birds mate they mate for ... Read more
The tattoo style known as “tribal” has a long tradition that spans back over thousands of years. It began as a style that was unique to a particular culture or tribe to set them apart from other local groups. It was also used as a way to express one’s religion of beliefs. Tribal tattoos were ... Read more
Diamonds are a very well-known symbol that are almost always associated with wealth and beauty. They are worn as adornments in rings, necklaces and other types of jewelry.
The word diamond is derived from a Greek word meaning “invincible”. This is an accurate depiction as diamonds cannot be destroyed. They are created by a massive weight ... Read more
The hummingbird is one of the most sought after designs for avian inspired tattoos. This bird has been portrayed in legends, literature and mythology and is very unique and graceful.
The hummingbird has specialized flying skills and is by far one of the most energetic bird varieties. They are able to stop on a dime and ... Read more
Cherry blossom tattoos have grown in popularity over the years. Not only is this flower very beautiful, but it also has deep symbolic meaning in Japanese, Chinese and other Asian cultures.
In the Asian community these tattoos are typically chosen for their symbolic beliefs and are occasionally worn for beauty.
The Japanese symbolize the cherry blossom, or ... Read more
Each Polynesian island has its own meaning and symbolism attached to their tattoos, but there are some common themes such as courage, rank, sexual attractiveness, rite of passage and talisman.
The symbolism based on each island is as follows:
Samoan tattoos: These tattoos are larger and have more complicated designs. They can be read like a book ... Read more
The triangle symbol is a simple one, but is also one with a great amount of meaning behind it.
Due to the fact that triangles contain three corners and three sides they are often linked to different trinities. The most common being that of the Christian faith, the holy trinity- father, son and Holy Ghost. The ... Read more
Octopus tattoos have a vast array of symbolism tied to them. Many liken the eight-legged creature to depict intelligence, gracefulness, agility and adaptability. Octopi also take much of their symbolism from their aquatic dwelling- such as emotion, fluidity and intuition. The octopus has the ability to change its color and can also disappear into a ... Read more
Star tattoos are a very popular choice and can range from simple to complex. For many the star has been a symbol of honor, hope, intuition, dreams and guidance.
There are several different types of star tattoos each with their own deeper meaning.
Fivepointed: This style is the most common and well recognized. It is used not ... Read more
Butterfly tattoos are a very popular choice for both men and women. They can be used to symbolize rebirth, love, transformation, grace, nature, or femininity. The transformation symbolism is easy to detect as butterflies start their lives as caterpillars and after undergoing a process called metamorphosis emerge anew as beautiful winged creatures. This can also ... Read more
Infinity tattoos are steadily on the rise with many people opting to get these in one form or another. The infinity symbol, often used in mathematics, represents a never-ending loop and is depicted as a number 8 on its side. In the tattoo world this can be seen as a symbol of never-ending or limitless ... Read more
When thinking of a skull many people think of death and decay, however there are some different general meanings for different styles of skull tattoos.
In ancient societies skull tattoos represented great change and a celebration of life. The meaning can vary passed on the wearer’s religion as well. For example, in Christianity the skull can ... Read more
The cross is by far one of the most recognizable symbols in the world as well as one of the oldest. It is also one of the most popular choices for tattoos. Typically crosses are used to signify one’s devotion to their religion or faith but they have also been used as a way to ... Read more
The rose has been a popular tattoo choice leading back as far as the 1930’s. They can be used to symbolize many things including love, femininity, sacrifice and even death. Sailors often used a rose to honor a wife, girlfriend or mother to bring them peace while they were out at sea. The rose has ... Read more