The Classic Heart Dagger Tattoo

Xavier in Tattoo Ideas

The heart dagger is one of the classic designs in traditional style tattoos that can be traced back to more than a century ago.

And with time, brought a number of interpretations and personal meanings to this design. At first glance, it can be pretty self-explanatory; the heart suggesting emotions and the dagger through it demonstrating hurt or pain. A popular theme with the heart dagger tattoo is betrayal. It's definitely a classic piece that's bound to live on for a long, long time, among the traditional style roses and eagles.

by Mike Stockings
by Mike Stockings

Since some people actually still believe most of us just got out of prison anyway, let's start with prison talk. In the cells, a heart dagger tattoo means that the wearer is willing to kill. Outside the shutter, it only means 'love hurts'. But for guys like us who are fresh from the jail cells, it can only mean we will kill any motherfu**er who gets in the way of our dating lives.

Almagro Tattooer - Barcelona
Almagro Tattooer - Barcelona
by Dock Street Tattoos
by Dock Street Tattoos
by Leonid Stari
by Leonid Stari

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If you're really going to look into the meanings of both elements; the heart and the dagger, it can be interpreted in so many ways. The dagger always implies something that can cut-- hurt, cause harm, dangerous, while the heart is always something tied to emotions and fragility. When a tattoo involves something stabbed by a dagger, it suggests the danger or the harm on something (i.e. a snake represents a treacherous person, therefore snake stabbed by a dagger can mean the wearer's discernment to these types of people or a symbol he identifies himself with).

My Chemical Romance's Frank Iero with his Our Lady of Sorrows tattoo
My Chemical Romance's Frank Iero with his Our Lady of Sorrows tattoo

While in religious symbolism, the dagger through the heart is considered as a variation of the Catholic Sacred Heart of Mary, who is regarded by some as the Lady of Sorrows.

In Luke 2:34-35,

"And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed-- and a sword will pierce even your own soul-- to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."

Artist unknown.
Artist unknown.

But ironically, the heart dagger tattoo is also a symbol associated with Erzulie Dantor, a Haitian spirit who, in many aspects, is the opposite of Mary. Despite being the spirit of spirit of love, beauty, jewelry, dancing, luxury, and flowers, her dark side reveals vengeance and jealousy. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that this symbol can be identified with the voodoo religion, as much as it can with Catholicism.

vodoustore.com
vodoustore.com

Interestingly, the dagger is not just a bad-ass looking knife. Way back when silencers let alone handguns didn't exist, assassins preferred daggers as their weapons of choice. Aside from the fact that it totally looks cool and menacing, its size and its sleek design makes it easy to conceal. Daggers are also used in sacrificial rituals and such, which only makes it  all the more fascinating.

Artist unknown.
Artist unknown.
by Matt Craven Evans
by Matt Craven Evans
by Ibi Rothe
by Ibi Rothe
by Antonio Roque
by Antonio Roque
by Phil Hatchet Yau
by Phil Hatchet Yau

But of course, it can mean anything for anyone, those are just the more popular meanings and origins the world knows of. People get one type of tattoo all the time which can mean a hundred thousand other things. If you ask me, a heart dagger tattoo is a great tattoo behind the meaning of betrayal or treachery. It's one of those tattoos that is the equivalent of your ancient uncle who comes around once in a while and likes to tell stories of his nights back then involving whiskey, tough men and hot chicks.

Artist unknown.
Artist unknown.

Traditional  style, all the way.

by Juho Sipila
by Juho Sipila

The bold lines!

by Lewis Mckechnie
by Lewis Mckechnie

Who says the heart dagger tattoo is only for men?

by Rich Lajoie
by Rich Lajoie

Ladies nailing it!

by Kamil Czapiga from Katowice, Poland
by Kamil Czapiga from Katowice, Poland
by Ben Doukakis
by Ben Doukakis
by Anderson Luna of SAVED Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY
by Anderson Luna of SAVED Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY

Some really cool designs.

Artist unknown.
Artist unknown.
Artist unknown.
Artist unknown.

They make great sleeve fillers:

by Lenny Lenert
by Lenny Lenert
by Dennis Gutierez
by Dennis Gutierez
by Richie Clarke
by Richie Clarke

Check out this sick chest piece!

by simabbott / Tumblr
by simabbott / Tumblr

Opting for realism. Not bad.

Artist unknown.
Artist unknown.

The heart dagger tattoo isn't just good for traditional styles:

Artist unknown.
Artist unknown.

Clean linework.

Heart Dagger Tattoo
Heart Dagger Tattoo
by Chris Brunner
by Chris Brunner

This is beautiful.

by Ashleigh Brombal
by Ashleigh Brombal

Straight to the point.

by Aleksander Surowiec
by Aleksander Surowiec

Nipple hair is distracting but damn, this is good.

Artist unknown.
Artist unknown.
Heart Dagger Tattoo
Heart Dagger Tattoo

Impressive!

by Anderson Luna
by Anderson Luna

Love is an open door~

Heart Dagger Tattoo
Heart Dagger Tattoo

These artists are outdoing themselves and putting on some ridiculously good twists on classic ones like the heart dagger tattoo.

@blackglovetattoo
@blackglovetattoo

Love this!

by Matty d'arienzo
by Matty d'arienzo

Go get your heart tattoo on and get it pierced with some sick-looking dagger!

Xavier

@Xavier

When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife

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