Tattoo Meanings

Welcome to Tattoo Meanings, your online source for information on the background, symbolism, and interpretation of tattoo designs. We are researching and interpreting the symbols used in tattoos.

Whether you are thinking about your first tattoo or your fiftieth, or if you are just interested in tattoo meanings, this is the site for you.

We all have our own personal reasons for getting tattooed. For some a tattoo is their trademark an image that captures a key part of their personality or interests e.g. a musician gets musical notes, a car buff gets a vehicle picture or logo, or a martial arts expert gets a symbol from their dojo - or others, a tattoo may be their totem or lucky charm. Dice tattoos, Lucky Lady images, or spiritual images like dreamcatchers, crosses, or animals often fall into this category. Tattoos can also be tributes a commemoration or memorial to loved ones or specific events. Whatever the reason for getting a tattoo, one thing is certain: THINK BEFORE YOU INK!

tiger tattoo

As Krakow said,

"People select tattoos that make physical and permanent their dreams and desires, their inner demons, their worldview".(p. 77).

The key word there is permanent. This is an important decision, and should not be taken lightly!

Maybe you have heard the story of Kari Smith, the young woman who in 2005 auctioned off space on her face as an advertising site. For $10,000 US, she had her forehead tattooed with the name of an online gambling casino. Reports are that the folks at Golden-Palace.com actually tried to talk her out of it, but Forehead Goldie (as she now calls herself) went ahead with the tattoo. Most of us would probably agree that this was NOT a good decision!

Author John A. Rush, in his book Spiritual Tattoo, gives some good advice on selecting your tattoo art:

"It is important to study the myth connected with the images you choose, and if the images are of your own creation, make sure there is a positive outcome to the story/myth. Your tattooing should tell a story, with a beginning, middle, and end, a story that takes you past the old symbolic references that have bound you to an unhappy, unproductive, torturous existence, a history that you created. You need to build a story that brings you out of the old and into the new".(p. 191).

Wow. That IS serious! And that is why this website exists. To help you learn about the meanings of tattoo symbols. Along the way, we will also provide you some background and history about tattoos and the tattooing process but the main purpose of Tattoo Meanings is to study the story behind the image.

A 2003 Harris Poll discovered that, in the United States alone, 16% of all adults had one or more tattoos (in the 25-29 age bracket, the number was 36%. That is more than one in every three young adults!). 34% of those with tattoos said it made them feel sexier, while 26% said it made them feel more attractive. Sadly, a small minority (17%) regretted their decision. We do not want to see that happen to you! If nothing else, we hope to help you avoid making a mistake like the following:

You think barb wire tattoos are cool, but feel the wire around the arm look is overdone so you decide to have it tattooed around your neck.

Too bad, because that is a common (though not gang-specific) prison tattoo.

Your personal totem is the shamrock and your lucky number is 6. So you design a custom tattoo of a three-leaf clover with a number 6 on each of the leaves.

Unfortunately, that is also the symbol for the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist group.

We think you will find this site easy to navigate. Listed below are prominent categories or styles of tattoos. You can click on those to learn more about the genre and, from there, select more detailed pages about specific tattoo symbols (for example, you move from here to the Zodiac page and from there to specific pages about Aries, Taurus, etc.).

Plus, we have some FAQs you might find interesting.

Enjoy your visit here at Tattoo Meanings. Come back often, as we will continually be updating our pages.

Tattoo Meanings FAQs

Where does Tattoo Meanings get it's information? Find out more nad visit the Professors Page and read tattoo stories!

What can you tell me about the history of tattoos?

Can a tattoo just mean whatever I want it to mean? The meaning of meaning.

Has anybody studied the response people have to tattoos? What are others saying? What are their opinions?

Can tattoos be removed? What is the best tattoo removal method?

Tattoo Meanings Catagories....

The Professor’s Page
The Professor's page. Interviews with Tom Endres, a (tattooed!) professor of Communication Studies who specializes in human symbols and message exchange.
Animal Tattoos
Animal tattoos are among the most popular of all tattoo designs. Animal tattoo designs demonstrate our connections to the spirits of the fine beasts that define our personalities
Bird Tattoos and Their Meanings
Bird tattoo designs are tied to some of the most profound meanings in the tattoo world. Some bird tattoos include - Eagle tattoos, Swallow tattoos, Dove tattoos, Birds of Prey tattoos
Floral Tattoos
Floral tattoos and flower tattoo meanings. Many variations for floral tattoos. Some Flower Tattoos - Cherry/Cherry Blossom, lily, Maple leaf, lotus flower tattoo, tree tattoo, flower tattoo designs
Reptile and Insect Tattoos
Insect tattoos and reptile tattoos tend to fall under the creepy crawly tattoo design category. Symbolically, reptile and insect tattoos may be associated with gods, spirits, and the underworld.
Shape Tattoos
Looking for shape tattoos? Sometimes the deepest meanings in tattoos can be found in the simplest of shapes. Shapes have been used to convey everything from feelings to formulas
Spiritual Tattoos
Symbols for one's spiritual tattoos are often found in non Western religions or philosophies such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Examples of spiritual tattoos and mystical tattoos are Ankh, Buddha
Zodiac Tattoos
Zodiac tattoos symbols are extremely popular, both for aficionados and true believers in astrological influence on our lives and for the individual who just likes the zodiac sign associated with their birthday
Tattoo Pics And Stories
Upload your tattoo pics and stories. You can rate their tattoos and post comments - it's a great place to get some ideas!
Tattoo Meanings Blog
Tattoo meanings blog. Blogging up to date researched tattoos information through our tattoos blog
Tattoo Removal Methods
Tattoo removal is possible. Tattoos don't have to be forever. There are a number of tattoo removal methods out there claiming to remove tattoos


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