Tattoos with their Meanings

By | January 2, 2014

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Lucky Diamond Rich holds a Guinness World Record for being The World’s Most Tattooed Person (as of 2006). He is 100% tattooed, including the insides of his eyes and ears.

Tattooing, an ancient art, has regained its popularity in recent years. With so many celebrities sporting tattoos these days, it has also become a fashion statement. However, tattoo designs are not only sported for fashion, but also, for the meanings they symbolize. Here are some of the most popular tattoo designs that are ‘in’ today, and can be considered by people going for a tattoo for the first time.

Popular Tattoos And Their Meaning

Rather than going with the trends, you should choose a tattoo that connotes your personality, beliefs, and thoughts in the best manner. This way, you will feel more attached to the tattoo.

(Click on the image for an enlarged view)

Heart Tattoos

This tattoo symbol needs no description or explanation. It is one of the most symbolic designs in the world. A red heart tattoo, with the name or initials of the beloved, or a tattoo depicting intertwined hearts is usually adorned to portray love and commitment. On the other hand, people also have a broken heart, or a heart with a dagger, inscribed on their body to symbolize lost love. Heart tattoos look great on both men and women, and are usually inscribed on arms, shoulders, and even the back.

Dragon Tattoos

Dragon is a tattoo design with the most contradictory meanings. According to the eastern culture, the dragon stands for supernatural powers and courage; whereas in the western culture it is associated with evil power. However, widely-known meanings of the dragon tattoo are strength, wisdom, protection, force, and power. Depending on your belief, you can decide whether to have a dragon tattoo or not. This tattoo is well-suited on the back or the shoulders.

Sun Tattoos

The Sun is as symbolic and as well-known as the heart symbol. The Sun has been representing birth, life, and positive energy since ancient times. It also signifies vigor, vitality, power, and courage. One of the deeper meanings associated with the Sun is reincarnation or rebirth. Just as the Sun rises again after setting, humans are also born again after they die. The union of the Sun and the Moon in the tattoo represents togetherness, love, relationship, or even sexual union of two partners. Although the Sun tattoo is considered a masculine design, it is equally popular among women.

Butterfly Tattoos

The delicate and beautiful butterfly tattoo is appreciated by women more than men, and is considered a feminine tattoo. Apart from beauty and joy, it stands for freedom and independence. As the butterfly evolves from a caterpillar, it is believed to represent change and instability of life. In some cultures, it is believed that butterflies carry human souls to heaven. A butterfly tattoo can be combined with any other design like a flower, vine; and inscribed on any part of the body.

Koi Fish Tattoos

The Koi fish is one of the most symbolic designs in the Japanese culture. It is made in different styles and colors, and has different meanings accordingly. As the fish is usually drawn swimming upstream, it represents ability to achieve difficulties in life. The fish also stands for courage and boldness. A golden-colored Koi fish symbolizes luck, good fortune, and wealth. Koi fish is one of the most renowned symbols for love!

Angel Tattoos

Angels are messengers of God, and are found in many religions in the world. Angels are always associated with all that is good and positive. Guardian angel tattoos are specifically very popular as they symbolize guidance and protection. Religious faith, trust, divinity, etc., are some other meanings associated with the angel tattoo.

Bird Tattoos

Every bird tattoo has a symbolic meaning of its own. For e.g., an eagle tattoo stands for strength, courage; a dove stands for peace; while a sparrow symbolizes spirited attitude, and so on. Therefore, you can look for a tattoo design accordingly. But, all bird tattoos, in general, symbolize freedom, joy for living, and independence.

Cross Tattoos

The cross is a religious symbol and is usually adorned by those who are religious and have faith in God. However, apart from the Christian cross, there are many other types that have unique meanings and can be inscribed on the body. For e.g., the Maltese cross stands for bravery and loyalty. The iron cross, although a controversial design, is usually preferred by bikers.

Lion Tattoos

The lion tattoo is, more often than not, sported by people belonging to the zodiac sign Leo (as the lion is symbol of Leo). It is also popular, otherwise, due to the many meanings associated with it. A lion, popularly, stands for courage, strength, and bravery. At the same time, as the lion is known as the King of the jungle, it symbolizes power, authority, brilliance, etc.

Moon Tattoos

The Moon is a yet another feminine tattoo design, as it symbolizes motherhood and other feminine feelings and emotions. Just like the changing shape of the Moon, people who experience frequently changing moods, can go for this tattoo. Secondly, the Moon is also the symbol of the sun sign Cancer. Therefore, people born under this sign can consider going for it.

Skull Tattoos

On taking a look at this symbol, you may think that this design has negative symbolism. However, it is not true! You may not believe, but a skull tattoo signifies the desire or strength to overcome difficulties and tough times in life. Although earlier considered a masculine tattoo, it is now also inscribed by women by adding some feminine elements into it.

Snake Tattoos

The snake is one symbol that has both, negative as well as positive meanings. According to ancient culture, a snake represented wisdom, knowledge, fertility, rebirth, etc. It has also been associated with healing, protection, and transformation (because a snake sheds its skin). On the contrary, snakes are also considered evil and are linked with temptation, danger, sin, etc.

Vine Tattoos

The delicate grapevine, holly, or ivy is popular as a feminine tattoo design because of its beauty, grace, and femininity. Grapevine and holly are religious symbols and are associated with Christianity. Secondly, ivy is a symbol of love, commitment, and even friendship. Interestingly, vine tattoos are made by couples, together, to symbolize their love and faithfulness.

Yin and Yang Tattoos

Similar to its design, the yin and yang tattoo symbolizes the balance between two opposite entities. For e.g., it may represent day and night, positive and negative, male and female, good and bad, etc. The symbol also suggests that this duality is always present in life. On the other hand, it is also a symbol of compatibility. Usually, a yin and yang tattoo is made only in white or black color; but nowadays colored combinations like green and black, blue and green, red and yellow, etc., are also used.

Mermaid Tattoos

Similar to dragons, mermaids are popular mythical characters. A mermaid is a feminine tattoo design and is usually sported by young girls. A mermaid stands for beauty, femininity, mystery, love, and sensuality. You can have a mythical mermaid, or the cartoon character mermaid (Ariel) or a picture of a mermaid on the rocks near the sea. You can also include other maritime objects along with it.

Anchor Tattoos

The anchor tattoo was earlier sported only by sailors. However, today it is popular for its many symbolism and meanings. It stands for stability and security. This tattoo will remind you to be grounded and steady even in unstable situations. In a relationship, an anchor tattoo also means stability and fidelity. This tattoo can also be drawn along with other maritime symbols.

Using these basic symbols, you can go a step further and personalize your tattoos using designs and patterns of your own. These days, tattoos with names or initials engraved on them are also very popular. You can either go for traditional colorful tattoos or even try the Celtic or tribal symbols. With countless options, designs, patterns, and colors to choose from, you are sure to get what you want. Lastly, as a note of caution, make sure to have your tattoo made by a certified tattoo artist. Good luck!

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