Pinky Promise Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

Have you been looking for a symbol to have tattooed on your body that has a great amount of meaning behind a small image? We know the struggle. There are a lot of symbols out there.

The hard part isn’t finding something small with a lot of meaning, but more the idea of having to choose one that fits the idea you are trying to portray. Many subjects of tattoos have a great deal of meaning but before you get one, you should determine what you want to be represented on your body.

The tattoo we are talking about today is the pinky promise tattoo and the meaning behind it. You may have seen this image when just being out and about. In most cases, it depicts two hands with pinkies extended out either touching each other or wrapped around each other. Most of us don’t need an explanation of what it looks like because we have been making pinky promises without friends since we were children. However, the meaning behind the tattoo could be slightly different than you were thinking.

In this post we are going to get into the pinky promise meaning and what it symbolizes for those who have decided to have this image tattooed on their bodies. We will also talk about the history behind this strange way of making a promise to another person. By the end of the post we hope you have a better understanding of the pinky promise tattoo meaning and maybe get you one step closer to getting your own.

Origins of the Pink Promise

For the people using it, the pinky promise is nothing to scoff at. If you believe it is binding, then it is. It will usually depend on the friend but an oath is an oath and this oath does have some merit. If more people knew of the origins of the pinky promise, they might take it a bit more seriously.

It is said the pinky promise has its origins in Japan and has been around the United States since around the 1860s when it had been talked about in Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms. The following was said about the pinky promise; “Pinky, pinky, bow-bell. Whoever tells a lie will sink down to a bad place and never rise up again.”

It seems like a pretty serious punishment for breaking a promise but it actually gets more severe in Japanese culture. In Japan, the pinky promise is called “yubikiri” or when translated, “finger cut off”. It is often used by the Japanese mafia or Yakuza and is a far stiffer punishment than any of us would hope to come across.

This promise said that if you made a pinky promise and didn’t follow through or broke your oath, you were liable to lose a finger for it. The person who was wronged in the promise would be allowed to cut off the pinky of the person who broke the promise.

That is a really stiff penalty. Especially for those of us that were making pinky promises when we were in grade school. Fortunately, most of us don’t follow through with that part of the promise these days. However, it shows us that the pinky promise was looked at as a very serious promise that you were making.

Pinky Promise Tattoo Meaning

For those with a pinky promise image tattooed on their bodies, it could mean a few different things for them. First of all, the pinky promise tattoo could be one that is a promise between two friends with the same tattoo. This is a great choice for matching tattoos between friends or lovers. A promise to be true to each other and never hurt each other. Whether you are talking about a specific friendship or a marriage, the pinky promise tattoo is a great way to show loyalty to one another.

The pinky promise tattoo is also known to represent a sort of honor that one has. To make a promise and keep is an honorable thing to do and not all people are strong enough to keep their promise through thick and thin. It symbolizes mental fortitude because in order to keep a promise, you might have to stand up to forces that want you to break that promise.

Another pinky promise tattoo meaning is a memorial or memory of someone. The pinky promise was used by us when we were kids. It meant something back then and it was something we swore we would uphold. Sometimes we lose friends along the way and we know of a few cases where people are keeping that childhood memory alive by getting the pinky promise tattoo. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that have the biggest memories attached to them and this image is no different.

Pinky Promise Tattoo Variations

Below are a couple of examples of the different ways people get the pinky promise tattoo. We understand there are probably hundreds of ways to get this tattoo but these are the basic pinky promise tattoos and a couple of ways we have seen it down. These coupled with the examples below should give you a great idea of how you might get your very own pinky promise tattoo.

Two Hands Pinky Promise Tattoo

This is most likely the most common way you will see the pinky promise tattoo. It is an image of two hands wrapping pinkies just like you would do it with a friend. There are many symbols and images that can be added to this tattoo to reinforce the idea but this one is simple and small but packed full of meaning.

Promise Written on Pinky Tattoo

This is another creative way of getting the pinky promise tattoo. You will see someone with the word “promise” tattooed on the inside of their pinky. It is a clever way to get this tattoo and it is less common than the version we just spoke about. It is easily hidden as well so if you don’t want it to be noticeable, this is a great choice.

There are plenty of other ways as well and I’m sure you’ll figure them out but we hoped this page helped you to understand more about the pinky promise tattoo.

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