Tattoos with Meaning: What Your Tattoos Say About You

Apr 12, 2023

A closeup of an arm getting a tattoo.

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Tattoos can tell a story, represent a memory or even have no meaning. The beauty of a tattoo is that it represents something, whether big or small. The placement you chose for your tattoo can even mean something without you realizing it. Here’s what your tattoos say about you.

Finger and Ear Tattoos

People with small tattoos on their fingers and ears typically like to accessorize. Tattoos are a permanent accessory and add flair to your appearance, similar to earrings, necklaces or a hat. They can showcase things you like without flashy jewelry if it’s something you aren’t into.

A couple of tattoos look good on the fingers and ears. Here are the most common: 

  • Mirco tattoos: These tiny tattoos cover a few inches of skin. They might seem insignificant but can lead to a more significant piece one day or stand alone. Each meaning is different but is usually used to express thoughts and feelings or tell a personal story.
  • Stick and poke: Typically these are done on your own and can pose a risk of infections if not done carefully. The designs are usually simple and small, perfect for fingers and ears.
  • Minimalist: These tattoos can be about anything and simple, clean and elegant. You can easily hide them since they’re not too overwhelming.

Thigh, Rib, Chest and Upper Arms Tattoos

Tattoos on the thigh, rib, chest or upper arm tend to be deeply personal or sentimental. The areas reflect privacy, allowing only certain people to see the tattoo. The ribcage is the second most painful area to get a tattoo, so making it sentimental can make it worth it.

Below are the frequent tattoo styles in these areas:

  • Sketch Style: A sketch-style tattoo is black and white, resembling a pencil drawing. They have a lot of detail, so the artist will need a nice area of the skin to work with. 
  • Traditional: This is the classic look of tattoos that are larger and can have designs mixed together — like a swallow and ship — to have a symbolic meaning. The chest and upper arm are typical for these tattoos.
  • Biomechanical: An exciting tattoo to get on the thigh is biomechanical since it incorporates mechanical elements into the human body. These look like they are showing off inner robotics under the skin.

Feet, Back and Inner Bicep Tattoos

For newbies, the feet, back and inner biceps are the go-to for cautious people. These placements are easy to hide. When people go to get their first tattoo, they usually think about a place that seems safe.

Here are a few typical tattoo types on these body parts:

  • Japanese: This tattoo style often has different meanings dating to ancient eras. They’re supposed to tell stories and are very versatile. Japanese tattoos can be almost anywhere, but the back and arms are common.
  • Kawaii: This is a popular style of art that looks like cute cartoon characters. Flowers, animals and rainbows are typical and are great for placing on the foot.
  • Portrait: The back and bicep are perfect for portrait tattoos. These are done in black and white and are incredibly detailed. Placements like the ribs are not the best since this style takes a while to heal.


If the first tattoo you got was on your forearm, you want people to see your tattoo clear as day. Usually, people get it here so it turns into a more extensive collection in the future. It is the perfect high-visibility, low-pain spot.

People getting tattoos on their forearm usually get it in one of these styles:

  • Fine line: This tattoo style is subtle and minimalist, perfect for the forearm.
  • Illustrative: These pieces have a lot of detail, so having enough space to work with is essential. The inner forearm is the best spot to showcase your creativity.
  • Lettering and quotes: The possibilities are endless with word-based tattoos, but the forearm is the most popular spot. Be sure you take time choosing the right font and quote.

Hand, Neck and Face

These areas mean you are very confident and will get more tattoos in the future. You want people to see your tattoos and aren’t bothered by judgment.

These are the kinds of tattoo people frequently get on the hands, neck and face:

  • UV: The tattoo reveals a hidden message or picture beyond what people see. 
  • Neo-traditional: Traditional tattoos influence this with fine lines to add detail and designs.

Placements and Styles Make Tattoos Personal

Next time you head to the shop for a new tattoo, consider the placement and style for what your new ink will say about you. The artist will help you decide what the best option is for you.

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.