Small Tattoos With Meaning

Tattoos are one of the ways that people express their unique characteristics and beliefs to the world – a tradition that started in years past and continues today. Whether you are considering a tattoo for deep personal meaning, or you just want a simple tattoo that compliments your unique sense of style, these are ten of the best small tattoos with symbolic meaning.


One of the most meaningful symbols in the world, a star tattoo can represent everything from your own personal ambitions to a connection with astrology and the constellations. They have a long history as a tattoo design; sailors often placed maritime stars on their bodies as a way to remind them to find their way home. Stars are perfect for a small arm tattoo, particularly on the forearm or wrist.


Hearts are popular little tattoos because they are symbolic of love in a way that is universal. Whether decorated with color, a loved one’s name, or just worn as a simple black outline in a hidden spot, hearts are one of the most popular and adaptable tattoo designs. Reminding yourself of love lost? A broken heart will stay with you, forever.


Flowers are also easily customizable and attractive designs for little tattoos. When colored and vibrant-looking, flowers can represent growth and life, but when designed to look dead or menacing, they can be a form of remembrance for someone in your life who has died. Flower tattoos can be tribal in nature, abstract, or even just a simple outline. Depending on the meaning you are looking for, you may want to check out particular types of flowers that are often associated with different meanings.


You don’t need to be religious to appreciate angels; they represent everything from purity and innocence to protection and strength. Angels are popular tattoos for placement on the shoulder, as a way to remind yourself that there is always someone watching over you and by your side.


The sun doesn’t need to be designed as a large and colorful image to get across its message of growth, power, and life. A small outline on the wrist or ankle can carry as much symbolism as a sun tattoo that spans your entire back.


Skulls are excellent for meaningful small tattoos because you truly can attribute whatever meaning you want to them. Some people like fearsome skulls, evocative of horror movies or Halloween, while others may prefer Mexican sugar skulls, symbols of the Day of the Dead. In both cases, the skulls are related to death, but in the first variety they are scary and menacing, while in the latter they are meant as a celebratory symbol.

Small tattoos

Fish & Sea Creatures

The fish is another image that can symbolize a number of different things. First of all, for those who are Christian, the simple outline of a fish is a symbol for Jesus Christ. However, there are also variations such as the koi fish, hailing from Asia, which can be a sign of good luck and prosperity. While not technically fish, other sea creatures like dolphins or even breaching whales can symbolize freedom, expression, and a sense of adventure.


Birds soar through the air, and have therefore long symbolized freedom and flight for humans. Birds are great small tattoos as they can be placed everywhere from under the ear to on the foot, making for a unique meaning while still being a universally recognizable symbol. Again, the type of bird you choose will even further customize the meaning of the tattoo; an owl may be a good choice for someone who is a life-long learner, while a creative person may want to channel the peacock’s beauty.


Whether the name of a loved one, or a favorite saying or quotation, words are popular choices for small tattoos, even without an accompanying image. Many women have started getting words as small tattoos in visible areas, such as the wrist, shoulder, and even the ribcage. While in the past it was common for people to choose words in a language other than the one they spoke, now it is more typical to craft or select a phrase in one’s native tongue.


One of the tattoo styles that has become increasingly popular in recent years is getting a tattoo of the outline of the state or country where you come from. These can be meaningful ways of connecting with the place you call home, even if you now live somewhere else. Not to mention, utilizing just a simple black outline to create the shape means that your tattoo will always look unassuming and classy.

Related Tattoo Meanings

Peacock Feather Tattoo

Peacock Feather Tattoo

Peacock Feather Tattoo Meaning While geometric and abstract tattoos might be trendy, these designs simply can't compete when compared to ...
Read More