The fleur de lis is a very popular symbol all over the world and has been for centuries. The fleur de lis tattoo is very popular because so many meanings can be attached to it.
In some cases, the symbol alone is all people need to give others an understanding of who they are, while in other cases people like to add the symbol to larger designs.
The fleur de lis/lys is an iconic symbol of Frankish and other Western European nobilities. In English, it is literally translated to “flower of the lily”, although it is disputed as to whether the symbol represents lilies or irises, and has been a regal symbol for centuries.
The fleur de lis is thought to be designed after the beautiful irises that grow naturally along the Lys River in France, where the symbol likely originates. Alternatively, because fleur de lis translates to lily flower in French, it could also be modeled after the lily. While many people get the fleur de lis tattoo for its regality, you will see below that there are also quite a few other meanings that work just as well.
Popular Fleur De Lis Tattoo Meanings
The fact that the fleur de lis is a stylized lily means that every meaning attached to the flower can be attached to the symbol as well. The lily has quite a few meanings, including beauty, death, love, and faith. If you were already interested in getting a lily flower tattoo, you might find that the unique style of the fleur de lis tattoo is perfect for you.
Whichever flower it is meant to represent, the fleur de lis has come to be associated with feminine purity. This is the meaning to use if you are proud of your own purity, or if you want to be a purer person. People often use this meaning when they plan on making big changes in their lives after having troubles with mistakes in their pasts.
Because of its French origins, it also is highly associated with Catholicism and the Holy Trinity of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. 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 lis conveys regality and familial significance.
It is one of the most common symbols found within heraldry, the signage of the noble and chivalric. It has been used for centuries to signify the honorability of one’s lineage, proving an individual’s prestige with generations of merited ancestors. The fleur de lis is found not only in relics of French history but also in Spanish and Italian heraldry as well.
Modernly, it is used throughout Europe and North America as a relic of the nobility and the attributes they upheld; honor, merit, and integrity. Representations of regality are often included with the fleur de lis when it is designed with this context in mind. The fleur de lis, in this way, is a historical symbol and can be used by those who study and appreciate history.
Other Fleur De Lis Tattoo Meanings
The New Orleans Saints of the National Football League use the fleur de lis in their logo, so fans of the team often get the logo to show off their team spirit. The perfect candidates for one of these fleur de lis tattoos are those who both love the team and happen to also like one or more of the other meanings mentioned on this page.
The fleur de lis is found on the flag of Quebec in Canada as well as in many other countries where French colonialism laid its siege. Just like with New Orleans Saints fans, people who are proud of their French heritage will sometimes get the fleur de lis tattoo because they want everyone to know who they represent.
While plenty of people will get the flags or logos by themselves, it’s not uncommon to find other designs that make the meanings a bit clearer.
Another pretty common meaning attached to the fleur de lis tattoo is power. The truth is that plenty of powerful countries, cities, families, and organizations have used the fleur de lis symbol in one way or another, so it’s no surprise that many people think of power and authority when they see it. Those who feel that they have power in their lives and people who aspire to be powerful are great candidates for this tattoo and this meaning.
The fleur de lis has long been seen as a good luck charm and something soldiers look at when they need to get through a tough battle, so it has come to represent hope. In fact, you will sometimes see fleur de lis tattoos with the literal word “hope” written above it. This is a good meaning to use if you have had a lot of tough moments in your life and you want to see better days in your future.
Unity is yet another meaning that people like to use when they get their fleur de lis tattoos. Many armies have proudly worn the fleur de lis symbol on their uniforms over the years, so it’s definitely a great symbol of unity. This makes the fleur de lis a great tattoo for people who are looking to get matching designs, but it also works for individuals if they feel like they bring people together or that they have a very tight-knit group around them in their lives.
The balance and symmetry of the image are a representation of harmony. It has been used in artwork for countless years in patterns and motifs because of its ability to fit into many designs. The universal relevance of the symbol’s meaning creates an adaptability that allows it to be used in multiple cultures in multiple eras.
Classical tattoo flowers like full roses are often included in fleur de lis tattoos to create a more traditional tattoo design. To emphasize the floral shape, flowers or floral line work is often introduced into the design.
Leaves may be added instead to make the original symbol appear more like a flower and highlight the feminine intention of the fleur de lis. If you do choose to add additional flowers or flower symbols, be sure to know the meanings attached to those flowers as well to ensure that each element of the tattoo represents something important to you.
Fleur De Lis Tattoo Designs and Placements
As you will see below, there are plenty of ways that you can make the fleur de lis tattoo look great on your skin. It’s a good idea to know exactly what you want to be in your tattoo and how you want it to be designed before you pick a place to put it on your skin. What’s pretty great about the fleur de lis symbol is that it can fit just about anywhere on your body and there are quite a few ways that you can tweak the symbol to make it your own.
Even though a lot of people like to make their tattoos pop a bit with flashy colors and line work, the most popular way to get the fleur de lis designed is still the old-fashioned way. You will see far more classic black fleur de lis tattoos than anything else simply because it holds all of those meanings that have been associated with the symbol for centuries. You obviously can use the same meanings with any type of fleur de lis design, but a lot of people prefer the look of the classic design.
To create a feminine design, the fleur de lis can be structured with delicate line work that appears like lace or other intricate weaving. Designs that imitate jewelry are often added as well to soften the appearance. The fleur de lis can be introduced into a chain and made to look like a trinket, enhancing the concept of jewelry. The idea of regality is emphasized with these tattoo designs and to further that concept, crowns or scepters may be included, especially those of a French style.
It can be designed very simply or grandiose, emulating a detailed rococo style that adheres to its French roots. This can indicate French heritage or an affiliation with French culture. Simple tattoo designs may utilize the silhouette of the fleur de lis and represent a more modest and quiet personality while a larger design with depth, color, and detail is better suited to a bold person. The shape can also be created with ribbon in a feminine design or iron bars for a more masculine look. It can be made to appear more intricate like a Celtic knot that speaks to one’s heritage.
French phrases may be added to the design to emphasize its origins, often those with a Christian tone. Biblical scripture in Latin may be added instead to create a more traditional religious theme. In medieval Christianity, the fleur de lis is tied to the Virgin Mary and her divinity.
The three petals of the flower are connected with the Holy Trinity and the three pillars of Christian tradition. Later on, in the English Middle Ages, the three petals were given the specific representation of faith, wisdom, and chivalry. Additionally, Catholicism is deeply rooted in Frankish/French history where the fleur de lis is often found. The symbol is a strong image of Christian faith due to its origins in French royalty, a lineage that was closely associated with the power of God.
The symbol can be designed with Christian iconography around it like crucifixes or doves as a representation of peace or images of heaven like wings, beams of light, and clouds.
Is the Fleur De Lis Tattoo Right for You?
As you can see, there are dozens of great meanings that can be used with the fleur de lis tattoo and even more design options. Chances are at least one of the meanings mentioned above can work for you, but more importantly you have to like the look of the symbol.
The truth is that just about every meaning that can be used with the fleur de lis tattoo is also associated with some other type of symbol, so we highly recommend doing your homework on the meanings you like before you commit to anything.
If you do end up choosing to get a fleur de lis tattoo and you have found one or more meanings that you like, you should search around for a respected artist in your region to up your chances of getting exactly what you want.
Even if you are going with a very basic fleur de lis design, you should still work with a top artist because they can help you find the perfect placement for the design and can even help you out during the actual design process.