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The Meaning of Butterfly Tattoos (With Pictures)

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Jaymz has held numerous jobs in several states, but no matter where he lives, he always has a job as a tattoo artist.

Find inspiration for a butterfly tattoo in these photo galleries, and explore the meanings of this beautiful tattoo.

Find inspiration for a butterfly tattoo in these photo galleries, and explore the meanings of this beautiful tattoo.

Butterfly Tattoo Designs

Butterfly tattoos are one of the more common tattoos among women. Butterflies can represent something pretty or something more meaningful.

Butterfly Symbolism in Different Cultures

Butterflies can symbolize various things, depending on which culture you look at.

  • In the Japanese culture, butterflies are seen as the personification of one's soul, whether it be living, dying, or dead. It is also thought that if a butterfly enters your guest room and sits behind the bamboo screen, a person whom you love is coming to see you. But, at the same time, butterflies in large numbers are bad omens.
  • In the Russian culture, butterflies can represent a woman or grandmother.
  • In Greek, butterfly means "soul."
  • In China, two butterflies flying together is a symbol of love.

Other Meanings

Butterflies can also symbolize:

  • Rebirth (the circle of life)
  • Change in one's life (metamorphosis, evolution, or transformation)
  • Luck (an omen of hope and good luck)
  • Freedom (the caterpillar has grown wings)
  • Nervousness (flighty, flittery energy)
Butterfly tattoos are not only for women.

Butterfly tattoos are not only for women.

Butterfly Tattoo as a Symbol of Change or Evolution

Many get butterfly tattoos to represent personal evolution or change. Because the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly is so dramatic and magical, many choose it as their personal emblem of positive transformation. To learn more about this representation, read Tattoo Ideas: Symbols of Growth, Change, New Beginnings.

Choosing a Butterfly Tattoo

In many cases, one might think a butterfly tattoo is safe. I mean, who doesn't like butterflies? It's not like getting a favorite band logo or a favorite cartoon character tattooed on your body, as eventually, you may grow out of the band and your tastes may change.

Butterflies can be represented as gorgeous creatures of change and revival, which makes them a safe choice for a tattoo, especially first tattoos.

by Divinity Tattoo, Phoenix

by Divinity Tattoo, Phoenix

by IAM: spud-dawg, Big buddha tattoo, Lubbock, Tx

by IAM: spud-dawg, Big buddha tattoo, Lubbock, Tx

Things to Consider Before You Get Tattooed

But, when choosing a butterfly, you will want to decide on the type of tattoo (tribal, classic, etc.) and the location (hidden, visible, foot, arm, back, etc.) for the tattoo.

It may help to gather several photos of butterflies that you like. Take them to your tattoo artist and see if they can create the perfect butterfly for you. This way, you will have some input as to the design of your new tattoo.

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Read More from Tatring

See more examples of butterfly tattoo designs.

See more butterfly tattoo ideas for women.


Shania on July 12, 2020:

That butterfly is so cute into my right skins

J on March 25, 2018:


Jasmine on November 05, 2010:

Nice!! (:

***amarayn*** on November 03, 2010:

i really loved them three butterflies wif da stars man it really looks pretty... am thinking of gwting something kind of like the one..

mama on July 22, 2010:

just got one, it represents the passing of some loved ones and changes in my life, a since of freedom.

jo on April 27, 2010:

they're just a bit common though...

erinz18 on April 03, 2010:

i have one butterfly tatto on my foot just very simple and pink i got it coz it means freedom and it was after my nana passed away and now ive just end a long term relationship and have a new lesse on life so now it has more meaning to me coz i am FREE im also getting a big tirble desing on my back with a big butterfly but after reading your comments ( i was scard for having two many butterflys on my body ) but now im not thanks guys :)

sherry on March 09, 2010:

I absolutely LOVE butterflies and always have. I lived in Alaska back in the "hippie 70's" and got my first tattoo of a butterfly on my ankle. I felt like I started a "butterfly" trend over 30 years ago. The color has faded but the meaning lives on of what a wonderful, exciting and adventurous life I live. Butterflies deffinately represent beauty of the mind and soul, free spirited, colorful flying flowers !! I'm releasing 75 beautiful live butterflies at my son's wedding this April. Can't wait for the grand showing !!! Awesome little creatures !!

Co on March 02, 2010:

I like the black one

chasity101 on December 03, 2009:

butterflys are lucky cubz!!!!!! there magical in a way. lol

amber16 on October 09, 2009:

i just love to see butterfly tattoos

cubz on September 20, 2009:

butterflies land on people sometimes because they are attracted to the salt from our skin. but I also like to think of it as luck. better than a bee. lol

anniella on September 09, 2009:

very nice tatoo i like it

Louisa on August 14, 2009:

Thanks for all these great inspiration pictures!

nicole on July 26, 2009:

i really like the three butterflies with the stars. =)

keshia on June 14, 2009:

i have 6 butterfly tattoos and i love them all. they are just so nice looking.

Monica on February 03, 2009:

i think that it is who i am i make many changes in life gone throw much and my soul is as free as it wants just like a butterfly

amanda on June 12, 2008:

i have a dragonfly on my lower back. butterflies are girl and pretty so badass tats

jaymz (author) from USA on June 10, 2008:

Off hand, i believe that's luck, but I'm not sure.

denise on June 10, 2008:

what does it mean when butterflies land on your hand and just sits there i have that happen twice where a butterflie will vrawl up on my finger and stay there

stylezink from Atlanta, GA. on June 08, 2008:

Good hub, I havee 2 butterfly tattoo's so far, I don't know if I'm done yet and both of them actually represent something you listed, funny huh.

hayley on May 21, 2008:

i absolutely LOVE the purple butterflie design with the 3 butterflies nd all da stars!! im getting a tattoo nxt wk hopefully nd im seriously thinkin of gettin dat!!! xxx

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