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The Hidden Meaning Of The 10 Most Popular Tattoos

In this day and age, it's uncommon to find a person who doesn't have a tattoo. Since the stigma over body ink has decreased over the years, people have been covering themselves with anything their heart desires.

While some people may simply pick a design they think are pretty, others choose images that truly resonate with them. While thousands of people might have the same tattoo, such as birds, ships or skulls, everyone puts their own spin on them, making them unique to each individual.  

But, there's a reason people pick the same subject to brand their body with, and that's due to what these images represent. Whether it's a reminder of a significant milestone, or the representation of a fond memory, they all represent something exceptionally personal to the individual.

Curious about why people pick certain tattoos to cover their body? Here is the hidden meaning 10 of the most popular tattoos.

1. A semicolon

If you ever see a person with a semicolon tattooed on their wrist, it could mean more than just their love of perfect punctuation. This symbol is a reminder for the individual that while they have struggled with depression, addiction, or thoughts of self-injury or suicide, there is always hope.

"[A] semicolon is used when an author could've chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life," Project Semicolon wrote in a statement.

2. Butterflies

When people decide to get a butterfly tattoo, they most likely chose that symbol to represent beauty, freedom, and regrowth. Since the insect starts off as a caterpillar, who lives in a cocoon, before transforming into a beautiful butterfly.

People typically choose to ink themselves with butterflies after they've undergone a significant change in their lives that has made them a stronger person for it.

3. A Feather

When you see someone with a feather tattooed on their body, it typically could mean either one of two things: the traits that encompass a bird (truth, courage, bravery, freedom, and travel) or the death or loss of a loved one.  

However, Native Americans believe they represent spiritual protection. The type of bird the feather comes from also shows an individual's status in their tribe.

4. The Om symbol

In Sanskrit, the word Om is a sacred and spiritual word that represents the beginning and end of life. The chanting of the mantra signifies the first, highest, and holiest syllable to be spoken, and encompasses both the cosmos and mystic world.

The word holds significant meaning in religions that originated from South Asian countries, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

5. An anchor

Even if someone isn't keen on the ocean, they can feel a special connection to an anchor. Since anchors are used by sailors to keep their ships in place, this heavy object is considered one of the most stable items in their possession.

Due to this reason, people often chose to get an anchor tattoo to symbolize stability and strength either for a particular moment they've overcome or just in their overall journey in life.

Sailors frequently get the names of a loved one tattooed around the anchor, which also represents the person who's kept them grounded.

6. Zodiac signs

Zodiac signs are another popular tattoo people chose to adorn their body with. Since there are 12 different symbols, people can feel a sense of individuality by marking themselves with their designated star signs.

As they are meant represent a person's unique personality traits, anyone who feels a strong connection to their sign often chose to ink themselves with this design if they wish to find themselves or need guidance figuring out their destiny.

7. A lotus flower

Popular with both men and women, a lotus flower is another symbol that holds a spiritual meaning. Even though a lotus flower is a plant that grows in murky swamp waters, it still blooms into a gorgeous flower.

Since they are meant to represent patience, purity, and harmony, the lotus flower resonates with people who are either facing or have overcome adversity.

8. The infinity symbol

People who choose to ink themselves with the infinity symbol aren't doing so just because they're in love. While the lines are in a never ending connecting loop, which could symbolize your everlasting affection towards someone special, it could also represent self-empowerment and limitless possibilities for your future.

In Buddhism and Hinduism, the design also signifies the perpetual cycle of rebirth and reincarnation, which could also symbolize one's religious beliefs.

9. Dreamcatchers

An object that originated from the Anishinaabe people, as the name suggests, a dreamcatcher was designed to catch nightmares inside its web, allowing the nice ones to flow through.

While Native Americans attach feathers to the dreamcatchers to entertain the young, they also do so to represent breath and air, which is an essential to life.

When people get this tattoo, they typically do so to symbolize their desire for happiness, success, good fortune, and protection against bad luck and evil spirits.

10. Roses

More than just a beautiful flower, roses have can have several hidden meanings. Although the flower usually represents passion, love, beauty, and strength, the color of the rose adds even more symbolism.

For example, a peach rose represents modesty and platonic love, while white roses represent unity, purity, and innocence. However, if thorns are included in the tattoo, it signifies defense, loss, and thoughtlessness.

So if you see colorful roses along with thorns inked on someone's body, it means someone is in the midst of battling their struggles.

Do you have any tattoos? What are they?

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at