Which tattoo stands for meaning and purpose

Tattoo Meaning: 35 Popular Tattoo Designs And What They Really Mean

Ever since the semicolon tattoos went through the social networks, everyone who wants to get a tattoo should be aware that tattoo motifs in many cases have a very specific symbolism. Many of you are probably familiar with the tattoos that inmates use to identify themselves in jail, for example as a member of a certain group or gang.

In advance in the video: The right tattoo for every zodiac sign

Video by Sarah Glaubach

Tattoos and their meaning for certain groups

For example, tears tattooed under the eye are a classic jail motif that often marks a murderer or someone who has lost a fellow human being to a murder. Singer Amy Winehouse also had a tear tattoo. It can be assumed that she was aware of the symbolism of the tattoo and that she had chosen the single tear under the eye as a sign of solidarity for her husband Blake Fielder-Civil, who was in prison. Many gangs also mark their affiliation with tattoos, such as the Hells Angels.

Tattoos have been used by seafarers for many centuries. Be it the anchor, as a sign of hope for a safe return, or the rose, which symbolizes the difficult life at sea with its thorns. The ship is also a typical seafaring motif, indicating that you have crossed a certain sea.

The importance of the classic tattoo designs

Of course, tattoos are no longer just the profession of sailors and prison brothers and the wickedness of a tattoo is in many cases long history. Rather, tattoos have become so popular and normal in recent years that it is almost more noticeable if you don't have a tattoo than if you are tattooed. And in this context, many people use tattoo motifs for purely aesthetic reasons, without paying attention to a specific meaning - which is also perfectly fine.

Nevertheless, one should definitely inquire about certain motifs, what the meaning behind them is and consider whether one conforms to the meaning or not.

Because with a tattoo, despite laser removal, the following applies: It’s so easy to get rid of what you have stabbed under your skin.

Therefore: keep your eyes open when choosing a tattoo! Here are the most common tattoo designs and their meanings.

Tattoo meaning: eagle

The eagle is a very classic symbol that stands for freedom, strength, power and pride.

What does an "A.C.A.B." Tattoo mean?

The tattoo A.C.A.B., which stands for "All Cops are Bastards", is very popular among criminals and tough guys.

What does an anchor tattoo stand for?

The anchor is also a very classic tattoo motif, similar to swallows and hearts. The anchor naturally comes from seafaring and symbolizes home, arrival, security, loyalty, hope and love.

Tattoo meaning: eye

The eye is a very mythical symbol and therefore has several meanings. It is mainly associated with the divine, e.g. B. as the all-seeing eye, the eye of God. The eye was also an important symbol among the Freemasons and stood for truth, wisdom and conscience.

What does a tree tattoo stand for?

The tree is a symbol of the cycle of life. So the tree tattoo has a positive meaning.

What can a flower tattoo mean?

Flowers as a tattoo motif just look beautiful. But they also have a meaning: They stand for youth and beauty. Currently real trend tattoos: the 12 birth flowers. Each of the flowers stands symbolically for the respective month of birth.

Reading tip:Birth flower tattoos are so beautiful

Diamond tattoo: what does it mean?

Another motif that is currently in vogue: diamonds. They symbolize eternity, purity, strength and constancy - and of course luxury.

Not sure which tattoo is right for you? Then do our test!

Tattoo meaning: dragon

Especially in Japan there are wonderful traditional dragon motifs. They stand for the supernatural, power, strength and masculinity.

What do triangles stand for as a tattoo?

Triangles stand for the four elements fire, water, earth and air. If the point of the triangle points downwards it means water, if it points upwards it means fire. If both are also crossed with a line, they stand for earth and air.

What does the tattoo "EWMN" mean?

The letters EWMN are a popular tattoo for the fingers. The four letters stand for the English terms evil (dt. Bad), wicked (dt. Crazy), mean (dt. Common) and nasty (dt. Naughty).

Tattoo meaning: owl

The owl is also one of the old school tattoo designs. Their meaning: wisdom and feminine intuition.

What does a cat stand for as a tattoo?

The cat can stand for a wild character, but it can also symbolize the sense of family. By the way, in Russian jail the cat stands for a masterly thief, several cats for a gang member.

Tattoo meaning: cherry

The cherry is a classic rockabilly tattoo, as is the swallow and the cube. It symbolizes the contrast between innocence and openness. The double cherry as a motif stands for a long partnership.

What does a compass mean?

While the compass used to be a protection for men at sea as a tattoo, today it shows that the person who wears it knows where he wants to go in life and that he knows his way. A compass on the skin can also symbolize the desire to travel.

That can mean a cross tattoo

In the Christian faith, the cross is the symbol for Jesus Christ. As a tattoo, the cross thus stands for the Christian faith of its wearer.

Tattoo meaning: lion

The lion is the king of beasts, so he represents power and strength.

What do black rings stand for?

The wide, solid black rings, which are mostly worn on the arm, are said to go back to Japanese criminal tattoos from the 17th to 19th centuries.

What does an arrow tattoo mean?

An arrow tattoo can have several meanings. On the one hand, it protects its wearer from danger. Two crossed arrows symbolize friendship, one broken arrow symbolizes peace.

Tattoo meaning: 3 points

Tattooed under the eye, the three dots stand for faith, love and hope. Another interpretation of this tattoo is that they symbolize the prison code of "see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing" and thus indicate that the wearer was in prison.

What do 5 points mean?

A dot in the middle with four dots around it, like the five on the cube, indicates that the wearer was in prison.

Tattoo meaning: rose

The rose stands for love, innocence, loyalty, purity, but also for passion. A tattooed thorny rose can also represent a life full of adversity.

What does a ship as a tattoo stand for?

The ship is a classic sailor tattoo with different meanings. A small ship, for example, was the mark of the sailors who had circumnavigated Cape Horn. Today a ship stands for stormy times in life that are safely survived.

Tattoo meaning: snake

From the Bible we know the serpent as the one who tempted Adam. As a tattoo, it can stand for temptation, but it can also be interpreted as protection for its wearer. Tattooed on the neck, the snake can represent a criminal past.

What does a key mean as a tattoo?

The key has stood for power since the Middle Ages. However, anyone who has a key pricked today usually symbolizes the key to their inner being and their heart.

Tattoo meaning: butterfly

First there is the caterpillar, which then turns out to be a beautiful butterfly. The butterfly motif stands for transformation, new beginnings and rebirth.

Tattoo meaning: swallow

Bird motifs are often used as a symbol of freedom and are an extremely popular tattoo. The swallow specifically represents love and kinship and is a classic rockabilly tattoo. However, the swallow is also very popular with prison inmates. Their meaning here: their wearer dreams of freedom.

What does a semicolon tattoo stand for?

This tattoo motif is intended to draw attention to a psychological problem. The sign means that you could finish something but not do it. The sentence does not end after the semicolon. The semicolon stands for the yes to life that depressed people choose, but also for perseverance and going on in a difficult phase of life.

Tattoo meaning: playing cards

The cards symbolize, on the one hand, the desire to gamble, but also the view of their wearer on life. The symbols of the playing cards are also popular prison tattoos: In Russia the cross stands for crime, spades for a thief, diamonds for a spy and heart for the search for a partner in prison.

What does a spider web tattoo mean?

If you think this tattoo is just beautiful, you should know its meaning better: A spider web on the elbow or shoulder means that the person was in prison and murdered someone. Even more: The US civil rights organization Anti Defamation League sees a connection between the motive and racist sentiments. In some places, the spider web is supposed to indicate that someone has murdered a member of a minority.

Tattoo meaning: star

Stars can symbolize the firmament and the heavenly, but they also stand for infinity, longevity and love. Also a beautiful motif as a fixed star and shooting star. Stars can also be purely decorative or represent a loved one. Gladly combined with a letter or name.

What do tears stand for?

As already mentioned at the beginning, tattooed tears under the eye are a classic prison tattoo. The meaning: They indicate that someone has been murdered or that a close family member or friend has been murdered and that one is seeking revenge.

Tattoo meaning: skull

This motif also comes from the prison environment. In Russian prisons, the wearer indicates with a skull tattoo that he murdered someone. But the motif is also very popular as a symbol for transience or in the Gothic scene.

What does a watch stand for?

The clock as a tattoo motif symbolizes transience and the circle of life. However, a clock without a hand has another meaning: it symbolizes the time in prison.

Tattoo meaning: infinity sign

The curved arches stand for the infinity of love, hope, faith - whatever the wearer associates with it.

Discover our newsletter!
We have so much to tell you: news, trends, tips and much more.
I register

What does a cube tattoo stand for?

This tattoo is very popular especially with rockabilly fans. The meaning: The cube should bring eternal happiness to the wearer.