8 Small Tattoos That Mean Big Things

By Pernille John
Tattoo Ideas

Not all tattoos have to be meaningful, not all meaningful tattoos have to be big to prove things. Here are small tattoos with big meanings.

What's beautiful about tattoos is they really don't have to always mean something. It's fine if you got them for ornamental purposes. Even our ancestors got tattoos for what they see as trendy back then. But when somebody gets a micro tattoo on the finger or the wrist, it's easily dismissed as a “trend tattoo.” With that being said, pretty much any tattoo can mean something. Somebody can just get a geometric underboob tattoo and say that it's dedicated to their mother. Let's not judge. 
I know we joke about these kinds of things all the time but let's turn the goof mode off for this short list of some of the most popular meaningful tattoos that can't be detached from their deep meanings anyone can relate their life experiences and beliefs to.

Best Tattoos of 2019

Meaningful Tattoos 1: Three dots tattoo

There are many small, but meaningful tattoos, and the three dots tattoo is just one of them. The three dots tattoo arranged in a triangular shape is a common prison tattoo, but its meaning depends on which culture or country you happen to be in. The tattoo used to be a symbol of Latino roots and a criminal lifestyle, but today the tattoo design often stands for “mi vida loca”, Spanish for “my crazy life” and is typically associated with the gang community and doing time in prison. The three dots tattoo is tattooed in a triangular pattern and often placed in very visible places such as on the hand or around the eyes. The very obvious placement of the tattoo works to show others that they are living the hard life, and that they are proud of it.

Despite the typical association to the criminal lifestyle, there are also people who get the three dots tattoo as a religious symbol, as the number three often can be a reference to the Holy Trinity of the Son, the Father and the Holy Spirit in Christianity.

Others see the three dots tattoos in the sense of an ellipsis tattoo - the ellipsis being the grammatical three dots that are used to indicate that the sentence is not finished. By extension, ellipsis tattoos symbolize something unfinished or a slow change of idea or a thought.

Meaningful Tattoos 2: Cross tattoo

Often regarded as a very Christian symbol for obvious reasons, cross tattoos are among the most popular motifs and are a way to express one's spirituality or religion. Due to its deep meaning, cross tattoo are not likely to get out of style any time soon. However, beware on the placement if you're not comfortable with the inverted cross. Although inverted cross tattoos aren't necessarily “anti-Christ” - as some will have you believe - they mean a slightly different thing that is still associated with the Christian doctrine.

Meaningful Tattoos 3: Unalome tattoo

Unalome tattoos are deeply meaningful and have a beautiful arcane symbol representing enlightenment. The zigzagging spirals signify the wandering we do in life and the things we go through whilst the straight path towards the top means reaching enlightenment.

Meaningful Tattoos 4: Om tattoo

The om tattoos are another highly regarded spiritual symbol directly associated with the Hindu faith, but It is actually a sacred chant, mantra and icon for many Eastern religions. What's beautiful about the meaning of om tattoos - also called ohm or aum tattoos - is the way something so short can mean something so big.

Some say that om is the first sound of the Universe or the sum of all sounds. The om sound actually contains three other sounds: A-U-M, which are supposed to represent a triad of things; the earth, the atmosphere and heaven, the three prominent gods of Hinduism, and their three most significant teachings. According to the Mandukya Upanishad, “The past, the present, and the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be is om. Likewise, all else that may exist beyond the bounds of time, that too is om.”

Nowadays, the om symbol is also often seen in Western cultures, but usually in a non-religious context, particularly among yoga enthusiasts. That being said, it is recommended to avoid placing your om tattoo below the waist line, as it can be seen as an offence in some Eastern cultures.

Meaningful Tattoos 5: G>^V tattoos

The minimalist Christian statement tattoo simply means, "God is greater than the highs and lows". These meaningful tattoos can be a powerful reminder to any monotheist, especially the Christians, to remind them of who holds the greatest power.

Meaningful Tattoos 6: Wave tattoos

Wave tattoos are meaningful too: they represent one of the strongest, most powerful, natural forces on earth. They've been known to swallow sailors as well as get them to their destinations. You may go against the currents but you'll always get carried away by the waves. People who get wave tattoos strongly believe in making the most out of it and riding these waves instead.

Meaningful Tattoos 7: Semicolon tattoos

Semicolon are usually used to force the reader to pause in a sentence, indicating that another statement will follow and highlighting its importance at the same time. The same goes for the meaning of the semicolon tattoo, it's meant to signify the continuation of a story — a pause, since everybody deserves a good pause — but never a word left hanging, cut short too soon. “My story isn’t over yet, neither is yours", writes Bleuel.

Project Semicolon's earliest roots was founder Amy Bleuel's first tattoo back when she was eighteen years old. She dedicated the tattoo to her father whom she lost from suicide. That's what inspired the young teen to reach out to others who are going through rough times and struggling with disorders like depression, which eventually can lead to suicide. Her organization is dedicated to the prevention of suicide and many survivors have chosen the semi-colon tattoo as their symbol. They could have finished their sentence - their life - but decided to continue it.

Meaningful Tattoos 8: Triquetra tattoos

Triquetra tattoos, also known as the Trinity Knot, are a Celtic and Nordic symbol with pagan roots. Some pagans believe the three interlocking parts of the triquetra symbolize the connectedness of the earth, sea and sky. Christians came to use these meaningful tattoos to illustrate the Trinity, the idea that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all one being. The meaningful tattoos of triquetra also represent eternity.

Get more inspiration for your next meaningful tattoo with the top 250 best symbol tattoos of the year.

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