Heartbeat Tattoo Meaning, Designs & Ideas

The heart is an image that resonates with everyone. There is a great deal of symbolism behind this image and most things that are associated with the heart. One of these things is the heartbeat itself. The heartbeat is the symbol of life. Without a heartbeat, you don’t live. It is the symbol that says you are alive and has much more meaning behind it.

This being said, many people looking for a meaningful tattoo choose to go the route of the heartbeat tattoo. This could be for a variety of reasons. It might represent your life or the life of someone else. The meaning might be a bit more obscure than what meets the eye. This is completely up to the person getting the tattoo.

In this post we are going to talk about the heartbeat tattoo and what it means to those that have it. There are many obvious meanings to the image of the heartbeat line but the fun stuff is behind the obvious. We will get into some of the different variations of the heartbeat tattoo and talk about what they mean with the different imagery added to the tattoo. We hope this will help you decide about the tattoo you are going to get in the near future.

Heartbeat Tattoo Meaning

The rigid and zigzagging horizontal line of a heartbeat, taken from the visual representation found on a heart monitoring machine, is often used as an expression of love for self or others. This design (also known as an EKG or electrocardiogram) is sparked by the idea that love is born in the heart and grows with each heartbeat. The line of the heartbeat jumps up and down with each beat, creating the peaks and valleys that have been made to symbolize dedication and affection. The linear pattern of the heartbeat is simple line work that can be incorporated into other tattoo designs or exist on its own, still serving as a strong symbol of life and love. The heartbeat is also used to showcase a devotion to music, art, or one’s faith or simply hope.

The heartbeat line is often designed with a heart shape introduced in between the ups and downs and incorporates well into the image because it has its own rounded peaks. This blends into the heartbeat but also adds contrast to the design because of the rounded shape. Script can be added as well to indicate exactly what is held close to the individual’s heart. Other imagery, such as crosses, stars, wings, music notes, paw prints or any other small and simple shape, is added additionally or instead to provide further clarity. This design often serves as a tribute to a loved one or memorial for a loved one who has passed on. In this case, dates and/or names are included.

Many look at the heartbeat tattoo as a symbol of renewed life. If the heart is still beating, you have a chance to change your path and this is a chance to start over. The heartbeat line can be a symbol of power, strength, endurance, love, passion and the ability to keep moving forward when everything in the world is holding you back.

The heartbeat tattoo can also symbolize that time is passing and it is running out for some. This being said, the heartbeat tattoo is a symbol to live life while you can. It reminds you to enjoy the little things in life and appreciate the time you have right now. Time is passing us by and this is the case for every person in the world. We only grow older and sometimes we get caught in the mundane parts of life. This tattoo can be a reminder to let society keep you in a holding pattern. We must always be present and enjoy what we have. Take risks and chances.

Heartbeat Tattoo Variations

The heartbeat line can be used in a variety of ways and often leads into other simple line work like curved waves, cancer ribbons, or script and dates. For names, fonts that mimic the ups and downs of the heartbeat line are often chosen to better incorporate the script. Inspirational words like faith, love, and hope are usually introduced into heartbeat designs that represent personal faith and religious beliefs. Crucifixes or the numbers of Bible scripture can be designed into the heartbeat line to symbolize the significance of one’s faith. Heart shapes are also often included to emphasize the relationship between the individual and their beliefs.

Skyline Heartbeat Tattoo

The heartbeat is also easily transformed into a city skyline, changing from the rigid peaks of the heartbeat into the rectangular shapes of a city’s buildings. City’s with notable skylines and metropolitans that have developed their own unique culture are generally used as they are easily recognizable. New York City is one of the most popular cityscapes that are used along with London, Paris, Abu Dhabi, Sydney, and more. These heartbeat tattoo designs reveal the home of the individual or the place where they feel safe and comfortable. The culture of the city may also describe the recipient of this tattoo, revealing characteristics about them that they may not otherwise share.

Music Heartbeat Tattoo

The heartbeat can be introduced into various designs in different ways such as into the measures of sheet music where the zigzag of the heartbeat serves in place of notes. Inspirational words or favorite lyrics can be added to the heartbeat line to emphasize the affiliation with music and musicians. The simple outline of an instrument may be included within the rise and fall of the line to highlight which instrument the musician plays. This is a design for dedicated musicians who identify closely with their music. Using a watercolor effect or any other type of accenting style, splashes of color can be added into the background as well to create a fuller and bolder tattoo.

In larger tattoo designs, an entire bar of music is designed with a few measures included. Rather than notes, smaller heartbeat waves are placed in a scale among the lines of the measure to mimic sheet music. Songwriters may prefer this design as it showcases their music-writing abilities while also conveying the significance of music to them.

Ocean Heartbeat Tattoo

Ocean waves can be incorporated into the heartbeat line tattoo design as well. The wave of water complements the waves of the heartbeat and creates an interesting and attractive contrast between the rigid peaks and curved whitecaps. This tattoo is an obvious symbol of the water-lover or one who engages in watersports, boating, canoeing, surfing, or any other aquatic activity. The wave among the heartbeats can also signify an astrological water sign like Scorpio, Cancer, and Pisces and can include more symbols of the Zodiac to clarify the tattoo’s intent. A wild spirit is also conveyed with the ocean wave, representing an ocean storm which mirror one’s roaring personality. Contrarily, the wave could represent the ocean tides and in that sense be a symbol consistency and predictability.

Couples Heartbeat Tattoo

The heartbeat tattoo also works well as a group or friends’ tattoo where multiple people chose to receive the same design. Sisters, close friends, or other family members often receive this tattoo to emphasize the need for each other in each of their lives. For couples, the real heartbeat of one another can be used or the heartbeat of a child, often taken from a monitor shortly after birth. This is a personal and unique design well suited for loving parents and partners. The heartbeat is often placed on the chest, inner arm, or ring finger, where a pulse can easily be found.

Angel Wings Heartbeat Tattoo

When you see the heartbeat tattoo with angel wings on both sides, it can be a symbol of someone lost. When the heart stops beating, we move on to another life and this image is a way to honor and remember those important to us that have left this earth. This is another way to remind ourselves to keep living and not wasting time because the person we get this tattoo for has already lost their time.

Faith Love Hope Heartbeat Tattoo

We often see the cross, heart and word ‘hope’, connected by a heartbeat line. This is a tattoo to remind us of what is important in our lives. For those that are spiritual, this tattoo is a great way to represent how they feel. This tattoo tells a story of how someone chooses to live their life. If their religion is the focus of their life, the faith, love and hope heartbeat tattoo is a cool way to express that feeling.

Incorporating Words Tattoo

We often see worlds incorporated into the heartbeat tattoo as a way to express how strongly they feel about something. ‘Family’ is one word we often see tattooed in this way because for many people, their family is the most important thing in their lives. You might see a child’s name worked into the heartbeat tattoo or even a pet’s name. Anyone or thing in this world that is important to you can be worked into the heartbeat tattoo to show how strongly you feel about it.

The heartbeat tattoo is a relatively delicate design and is often created as a small piece that appears more feminine that masculine. To create a more masculine design, an anatomical heart can be incorporated into the heartbeat line, introducing slightly gruesome imagery into an otherwise romantic symbol. This design considers the reality of the heart and its place in the human body. The heartbeat is a life line that allows the body to survive, upon which all other functions depend. The heartbeat line tattoo in this way is a reminder of mortality and the fragility of life. This design can also be a memorial tattoo and include names or dates of a loved one who has passed on.


The placement of the heartbeat tattoo can be anywhere you decide. This isn’t going to be a piece that will be the back piece filler you are looking for but if you are looking for something unassuming and sleek, the heartbeat tattoo is the way to go. From your chest to your forearm, the heartbeat tattoo looks great in most spots. Because it is a long tattoo, places where it can stretch would be the best place to get it. It isn’t suggested for really small areas as you can’t see the whole tattoo so make sure you give this tattoo some space.

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