Griffin Tattoo Meaning, Designs & Ideas

Griffin tattoos often symbolize a person’s interest in mythology and legend. These creatures can represent courage, strength, or fidelity. Griffins are featured in several movies and are also depicted in military and sports imagery. 

In this article, we’ll look at the symbolism of griffin tattoos.

What is a Griffin?

Griffins–also spelled gryffons–are mythological creatures that are known to be powerful and strong. They have the head, wings, and talons of an eagle, while their body, back legs, and tail are those of a lion.

The combination of the eagle and the lion make the griffin a majestic creature. Eagles are often considered to be the ‘King of Birds’ and lions the ‘King of Beasts.’

Legends tell that griffins often guarded treasures, gold, and other possessions. Their image was sometimes depicted on tombs and can still be seen today on family crests. Some museums and galleries also feature statues of griffins.

Griffin Tattoos

Many griffin tattoos tend to be on the larger size, displaying the power and majesty of this legendary creature. The arm is a popular place for this tattoo. Griffins with their wings spread are often tattooed on the chest or back. Many griffin tattoos are done in black and gray as opposed to color. 


The legend of the griffin appears in many cultures, including Greek and Roman mythology. Griffins were also featured in Egyptian art and some Asian legends as well. In many of these myths, the griffin was described as a protector or guard, particularly for kings or other important people.

Individuals who have an interest in mythology and ancient legends may choose to get a tattoo of a griffin. A person may like the idea of the griffin offering protection and keeping them safe from dark forces in the world.

Divine Power

In medieval times, Christians believed that the griffin was a symbol of divine power. Since the griffin is a creature that lives both on the land and in the air, it represents Christ, who was both human and divine.

A person who chooses a griffin tattoo may do so because they appreciate the symbolism of divinity. It may act as a constant reminder of their faith and be a comfort to them.


Griffins can also act as a representation of fidelity and commitment. The mythology explains that griffins only had one mate and they stayed with them for their entire life. Even if the other griffin was to perish, they would not look for another mate. In this way, griffins became a symbol of fidelity in the Christian churches.

A griffin tattoo may be chosen as a way for someone to express their commitment to their partner or spouse. This tattoo can be an expression of love and devotion, showing that the person intends to be faithful to them for the rest of their life.


Because the griffin has the body, tail, and back legs of a lion, it is associated with courage. Griffins were described as being brave as they protected the valuable belongings of kings and defended their territory.

A person may choose a griffin tattoo because they are known for their courage or because they are trying to be braver. The griffin tattoo can be a sign to the individual to be courageous in the decisions they make, to take risks, and to step outside of their comfort zone.


Griffins were known for being strong, powerful creatures. They used their strength for good, to protect and defend. The griffin can represent not only physical strength but mental strength as well.

Someone may opt for a griffin tattoo because they want something that compliments their own strength. Alternatively, a person who is actively trying to build their tenacity and resilience may choose the image of the griffin as inspiration.

Military Associations

Griffins also have an association with the military due to their strength, courage, and ability to protect and defend. Some of the squadrons in the United States Air Force feature a griffin on their unit patches. There are also some United States Army brigades with a griffin patch.

Someone who has served in one of these units may choose to get a griffin tattoo to represent their time in the military. It could also be a memorial tattoo for friends that died in service.

Popular Culture

Several movies, books, and video games feature griffins. World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, has griffins that represent loyalty and intelligence.

The Chronicles of Narnia also have griffins, though only in the film and video games, not in the books. In this series, the griffins fought as part of Aslan’s Army.

The Harry Potter franchise has the famous House of Gryffindor in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Gryffindor means “griffin of gold,” and this house included Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley as its members.

Fans of any of these series may choose to get a griffin tattoo to display their love of the franchise. These tattoos may also incorporate other aspects or characters from the books or movies. 

Higher Education

There are several colleges and universities in North America and Europe that have a griffin as their school mascot. In the United States, Canisius College and Reed College both have a griffin mascot. VU University in Amsterdam and Trinity College in England also chose this mythological creature.

Alumni who graduated from any of these schools may have a griffin tattoo. People who have fond memories of their time in post-secondary education may choose to remember it with a tattoo of their school mascot.


There are even sports teams with griffins in their name and logo. The Grand Rapids Griffins are an American Hockey League team in Michigan. They are the affiliate team for the Detroit Red Wings. Their logo features a roaring griffin with sharp talons and a menacing beak.

Former team players or even fans of this team may have a griffin tattoo to show their love of the game.

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