Different Tattoos and their Hidden Meanings

Different Tattoos and their Hidden Meanings

Tattoos are by no means a new fad; in fact, they have been adorning our bodies for thousands of years - their earliest evidence appearing 5,200 years ago. They were present in 2000 BC on females in ancient Egypt, and they are ever present today. One study shows that a whopping 38% of people aged 18-29 have at least one tattoo- and that number is only growing.

Tattoos are deeply personal; people get them for a plethora of reasons: to mark an important event or overcoming a particular struggle, to honor a loved one, or to express one's individuality or life philosophy. While the range of designs are endless, there are a number of styles that remain popular for their meaning and aesthetic. See below for some recurring designs and the meanings behind the ink:


Kanji are Chinese characters used in a Japanese style of writing. The symbols each have their own meaning and correspond to words. Kanji as tattoos have been popular for ages; their elegant, minimalist appearance along with subtle meaning makes them a desirable choice.


Bird tattoos range from sweet minimal outlines to highly detailed creations, and their meanings are just as varied. Historically, swallow tattoos meant that you had sailed 5,000 nautical miles. A phoenix symbolizes change or rebirth, while an eagle may signify freedom or patriotism. Oftentimes bird tattoos are meant to signify a journey, travel, or change.


Similar to the bird tattoo, the feather is also known to represent freedom, courage, or change. In Native American culture, the feather takes on a meaning of strength, bravery or protection. This dainty tattoo is wearable and flexible in its symbolism.


Flowers are possibly the most popular tattoo design- especially for women. Flower designs are an easy choice in that they are aesthetically pleasing, and don’t necessarily warrant a deeper meaning. However, many do symbolize something about their wearer: a lotus flower may represent personal growth or spiritual enlightenment. A cherry blossom signifies a time of renewal, or love and beauty. A rose? Love and passion.


Butterflies symbolize change and transformation- analogous to their metamorphosis from caterpillar to beautiful winged creature. They are a commonly chosen tattoo for their beautiful colors and whimsical nature.