X Tattoo Meaning Design, Meaning & Ideas

On the surface, the “x” is a very simple symbol that is often associated with a negative indication. An “x” represents something wrong, a warning against moving forward, or something that is not right, incorrect. But it is much more than that as a symbol. The “x” is bold and provocative.

As a letter, it is associated with the daring and can suggest eroticism. It has also been known the mark of a person in lieu of their name, a representation of an entire human and their identity in a simple crossing of lines. It can be the number 10, a date or amount.

The “X” is both a simple and complicated symbol that relies on the individual to assign significance and then decide how or if that significance is clarified to others. In this way, the “x” is an incredibly personal tattoo design, validated only by the individual who receives it.

A large “X” can be depicted as scratch marks, burns, or wounds in the skin which creates an aggressive design that suggests battle. This can be a representation of past tragedies that have scarred or wounded the individual and affected them in some way and left them without a sense of healing.

The degree of suffering can be revealed in the design depending on the degree of the wound. An “X” made of scar tissue can represent the opposite, a recovery from hardship and the ability to move forward.

An “x” rendered like ink or paint brush strokes may reveal an artist or writer. The plain symbol reveals the individual’s passion for their craft and signifies how it encompasses their entire beings.

There are also countless fonts that can be chosen for the “x” that significantly chance the appearance of the symbol. Lines can be added to the top and bottom of the letter to create a Roman numeral which suggests the number 10. The “X” can be placed in a box, leading to an association with the negative, the opposite of a check mark.

Smaller symbols can be added into the lines of the “x” as well to create a more complex image. A heart or star shape incorporated into the “x” makes a fuller design and adds a stylistic element that softens the abrasive nature of the crossing lines. The addition of marks into the “x” does not necessarily make the mark more feminine and delicate, especially if the additions are sharp like horizontal lines add to each end of the crossing lines.

Soft, curving edges as found in the cursive form of the letter “x”, however, as opposed to straight lines, do add delicacy to the shape. The “X” shape can also be rendered as a thick block shape to be filled in with a pattern or another graphic or image.

In some instances, the “X’, serves as a tribute to the television show “The X-files”. The “X” in this way is a symbol for science-fiction and an affiliation with the unknown and unexplained. The symbol in this case is blotchy and uneven and appears much like the lettering on an old facsimile.

X is one of the most identifiable letters in the alphabet. Not only is X the 24th letter in the alphabet, it is used in a variety of different instances. If you are looking to get a tattoo of the letter X, there is probably something about it that you can identify with. Many people with the X tattoo may hold different meanings behind it, for every tattoo there is usually a story to go along that further explains the marking.

Before you go ahead and get this as a tattoo, there are many things to consider first. Down below will be examples of the X tattoo along with different meanings it can hold. Placement and designs for the X symbol, styles, and a further look into this particular letter and why it is so popular to get as a tattoo.


The X tattoo is one that can mean a variety of different things. The most important meaning of the X tattoo is the one that you have for yourself. This makes the tattoo more creative and interesting when there is personal story of some sort to go along with it. Not everyone with a tattoo of the letter X will agree on a set reasoning for it, we all have our own unique thoughts on the subject. We can, however, look deeper into why others get this as a tattoo and some other explanations on what the letter X could represent.

Straight Edge

The term ‘straight edge’ comes from a subculture of punk rock music. Unlike many of the ‘punk rockers’ that would abuse alcohol and drugs, this hardcore suit of rockers was against the use of any drugs. Hardcore straight edgers had a real war against those who would use drugs, going as far as starting fights and becoming violent with alcohol, tobacco, or drug users.

Members of this culture would oftentimes be vegan or vegetarians, meaning they would not eat meat. Some of the hardcore straight edge vegans would not use any products that were tested on animals, or any product that put animals in harm’s way in order to produce. Starting in the 1980’s, straight edge punks evolved in three different ways.

At first, it was just the local people in the music scene that were tired of seeing everyone wasted on drugs and alcohol. They wanted the scene to clean up its act. Years later, straight edge bands had formed and started to really take the scene by storm, new members of this movement were created. By the 2000’s, straight edge was at an all-time high, changing its form once again to a more militant standpoint.

Although these people have some left-wing tendencies, they are also very conservatives in many aspects. Straight edge was said to be started by the band Minor Threat. They came out with a song called ‘straight edge’ and since then the ideals of the song and popularity rose, they adopted the name ‘straight edge’.

When asked about this new movement, the band mates said they had no intention of starting a whole subculture. The years following, several other bands jumped on the straight edge wagon making the scene stronger than ever.

Once the popularity caught on with this new scene, a band by the name of the Teen Idles emerged. One night when they were suppose to play a show in a bar, the bar manager realized they were all under the legal drinking age. To make sure the band was not getting served alcohol, the bar manager marked all of their hands with the symbol of an X. This signaled the bartenders not to serve alcohol to anyone with an X on their hand because they are underage.

The band loved this idea so much that they took the idea and established it in clubs and venues all over the country. This was a way of letting the younger crowd come into the venue, letting them in the doors only if they have X’s on the back of their hands so that they would not be able to drink within the premises. The X symbol was then being represented as a fashion piece. People would mark their hands with X symbols to show that they were straight edge, it began to become the cultures signature logo.

Straight edge bands then put X’s on the front of their album covers. The X was seen almost anywhere you can think when it came to straight edge culture. They would even have sXe written in various places, this meant Straight X Edge. Three X’s in a row was another way of representing your love for sober living. Hardcore straight edge members then started to get tattoos with X’s or with weapons crossing each other to form an X. These hardcore straight edge groups even got violent.

\They would hang out at local gas stations and stores waiting for people to walk in to buy tobacco products or alcohol. When the customer would come out with whatever substance they bought, gangs of straight edge kids would attack them causing bodily harm. Times have changed however, and the straight edge scene is a lot more peaceful now than it was before.

X Designs

Since the X tattoo was made most popular by the straight edge society, members of the straight edge scene started to get variations of this symbol as a tattoo. Like the original X mark on the back of the hand from the bars and clubs signifying this person was not aloud to drink, the tattoo enthusiasts in the straight edge community got the X tattooed on the back of their hands.

The back of the hands was not the only place that straight edge members got this tattoo however. Wherever they could possibly put it, they would have it inked. Having three X’s in a row (XXX) is another way of representing this idea.


Adding a graphic to the classic X symbol is always an option as well. This helps further represent what your X is all about. In the straight edge scene, the X is sometimes illustrated with weapons crossing each other to form an X. Baseball bats are a popular item to put in this form, along with hatchets, straight razors, and even knives.

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