18 Tattoos With Emotional Meanings Behind Them

Kasia Mikolajczak
two tattooed hands holding each other
Pexels | Pexels

When somebody decides to get a tattoo, it's a very personal decision. It could be a very thought-out process or something you do on a whim. However, when you want to honor somebody with a tattoo, it usually takes some time to pick the design and the artist.

The following tattoos come with incredible stories, and I bet the people who got them will never regret their decisions.

This Bee-atiful Tribute

tattoo of a bee on a person's shoulder
reddit | u/BishopGodDamnYou

"My father was a Seabee in the Navy. I lost him last week. Got this little guy to honor him and his service. Done by Abbey Saunders at Parasol Tattoo in Saratoga NY."

Aww, that's such a unique tattoo, huh?

This First Tattoo

astronaut tattoo on a person's arm
reddit | u/riahheuvel

"My first tattoo, in honor of my fascination with astronomy. By Curtis at Buju Tatto in San Diego, CA."

Wow, that's quite the gorgeous pick for a first tattoo, no? I think this artist did an absolutely amazing job.

This Black Cat

split screen of picture of person holding a cat and a tattoo
reddit | u/KaikesPokeCards

"I lost my old boy Sebastian last month. I had my first tattoo in his honor. Art by Storm at Black Dagger Tattoo in QLD, Australia."

Aww, I have such a soft spot for black cats. Our current cat is also black and we love him to death. This tattoo is just as cute as the picture.

This Survival Tattoo

tattoo on person's arm
reddit | u/CoasterJunkie_1994

"Done at Hallows Eve Tattoo in Palmyra Pennsylvania. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I am a survivor."

It's so important to try to heal past wounds and getting a tattoo can do that for you. I'm happy to see that this person here is doing just that.

This Career Achievement

tattoo of a heart with a on and off switch
reddit | u/rachelb323

"Got this done a couple of days ago in honor of starting my journey and career in perfusion (stopping and restarting the heart in surgery)! A fantastic job by Brian McArdle at the Toiled Clover in Pittsburgh, PA!"

I have to admit I've never heard of this job, but it definitely sounds quite unique. And a fitting tattoo to celebrate this career achievement.

This Brotherly Love

geometrical watercolor tattoo of a dog
reddit | u/jjm295

"Memorial for both my brother who passed and his dog. Done by Erik Smith - Sweet Betsy - Pensacola FL."

Isn't this such a cool tattoo? I really dig asymmetrical tattoos, and this one combines watercolor too, which makes it that much more spectacular.

This Tribute To Grandma

sunshine and cat tattoo
reddit | u/sprinkleofmagic

"I got this tattoo to honor my grandma who recently passed away and was such a major part of my life. She loved cats and always called me her sunshine. Tattoo was done by the incredible Gabe at Single Orchid Tattoos in Orlando, FL.

I'm so digging this tattoo design here. I bet this person's grandma is looking down at this tattoo and smiling.

This Doggie Tat

split screen of dog tattoo and picture of the dog
reddit | u/TKsomedays

"In honor of it being Star Wars day, I got my doggo named after Chewbacca on my arm. Done by my good friend Aaron at Green Street Electric Tattoo in Henderson KY."

Hee-hee, this is so cute, eh?

This Lovely Piece

arm tattoo
reddit | u/kingofthenawth

"In honor of my late mother, by Jeremy Nieves at Richmond Tattoo NYC (Staten Island, NY)."

Tribute tattoos are always so special and unique. They can bring closure to people who lost someone dear to them. I hope this piece here will bring this person some solace.

This Old-School Piece

old school nurse tattoo
reddit | Reddit

"Nurse tattoo in honor of my mom — by Antonio Rogue, Black Label Tattoo, Frederick MD. No filters."

Who here is a fan of old-school tattoos? Well, if you are I bet you'll really appreciate this nurse tattoo here.

This Cool Tattoo

Tattoo of a cat
reddit | Reddit

"The start of my tattoo in honor of my synesthesia. Done by Jason McConaughey at Bound by Tradition in Fresno, CA."

Okay, I had to look synesthesia up. It's when you experience one of your senses through another. Wow! I had no idea something like this even existed. Have you heard of it?

This Sweet Gesture

cute cartoon tattoo
reddit | Reddit

"My daughter asked if she could pick my next tattoo. Tonight I honored that request. Modified Designs done by Savannah Johnson."

Aww, isn't this the cutest thing? It's pretty bold for this guy to get a cartoon character tattooed on his leg, huh?

This Tribute To Grandbabies

lizard and flowers tattoo
reddit | u/talittlecreek

"Tat to honor two of my grandbabies. Work drawn and Inked by Ms. Emilie at Olympus Ink Tattoo in Topeka, KS."

Speaking of sweet, what do you think of this tattoo here? I think it's pretty spectacular and I dig it very much.

This Stunning Piece

tattoo of red door with stairs and clouds
reddit | u/Dusk_v731

"Grandparents' front porch by Jason Thomas at Moon Tattoo Studio (Austin, TX)."

Oh my gosh, I'm blown away by how cool this tattoo looks here. I love this style of tattooing, and the artist made it look so amazing and realistic.

This Bat Tattoo

arm tattoo of bats hanging upside down
reddit | u/cuthbert_ka_mai

"Bats for me and my step kids, Barbara at Painted Lady in Fort Wayne, IN."

Confession time: I've always wanted to get a bat tattoo. So when I look at how amazing this one turned out, I'm quite jealous.

This Planetary Achievement

space walk tattoo
reddit | u/MrSpaceTeacher

"I’m a planetary scientist, so I thought I’d honor the greatest achievement in human history. Jordan Ross of 2D Ink in Minot, ND."

Oh my goodness, isn't this tattoo absolutely stunning or what? Even though it's black and white, the artist didn't spare any details.

This Gorgeous Piece

beautiful arm tattoo
reddit | u/Yakusoku20

"My tattoo honoring my mom's fight with early-onset Alzheimer's. created by Josh Fields, at Platinum Rose tattoo in cedar rapids Iowa."

Context. Those are her eyes, the symbol for Alzheimer's, a shattered clock representing the time she lost, and a nebula/starfield representing her freedom from her disease and moving on to wherever we go when we die.."

Wow, that is one beautiful tattoo. It's so vivid with all those striking colors and the eyes are definitely the focal point.

This Hand Writing

hand written tattoo
reddit | u/picture_it_beautifu

"My First Tattoo! - 'Do Great Things' in Mom's Handwriting. Done by Rich Goorsky at Noodles Tattoo in Warrenville, IL."

Listen to mom. As it turns out, she's always right. I would love to have something like this on my arm, too.

Aren't these beautiful tattoos quite fitting?

woman tattooing someone
Pexels | Pexels

Every one of them is special and unique. And I love hearing the stories behind why somebody chose that particular style or design. All the tattoo artists did a phenomenal job creating exactly what these people asked for, no? I'm really impressed by all of them.