Mermaid Tattoo Meanings and Design Ideas

Updated on July 10, 2018
thelyricwriter profile image

Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.

Source

When it comes to vintage maritime symbols, the mermaid ranks with the best. This old school tattoo design first became popular with sailors in the early 1900s. In keeping with its roots, the mermaid tattoo design often includes other nautical symbols like ships, anchors, nautical stars, and starfish.

If you're looking for inspiration and ideas for your next tattoo, read on!

Source

Mermaid Tattoos in History

The mermaid is an ancient figure in many cultures' mythologies. In legends and folklore, the mermaid is often associated with sailors and the open waters. In most of the old stories, mermaids (or sirens) lure sailors with their beautiful singing and appearance and seductive ways. It is believed that they would lure sailors to their watery deaths so they could steal their treasures.

  • Two ancient civilizations that mention mermaids specifically are the Greeks and Romans.
  • Records show that mermaids were a big influence on coastal empires such as Greece and Rome.
  • The Greeks believed that they were created by the union of gods and sea creatures.
  • According to the Greeks, mermaids would commonly wait on rocks, trying to lure sailors to their death.
  • The Romans and the goddess Venus are both associated with mermaids.
  • It is believed that mermaids can only be seen in the light of the moon, so they appear at dusk but disappear at dawn.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source

Mermaid Tattoo Design Options

  • Mermaids are usually pretty, with long, flowing hair and jewel-tone colors.
  • Most mermaid tattoos portray slim, long-haired, and young, but you can go against this tradition and choose any size, shape, age, or color mermaid you want.
  • The mermaid is often portrayed as a seductive figure with an enticing look on her face or a suggestive posture.
  • They are often portrayed with other maritime symbols such as nautical stars, anchors, ships, or tropical flowers.
  • They may be portrayed swimming through water or sitting on rocks.
  • She might be topless or she may have shells or long, flowing hair covering her breasts.
  • They can be depicted realistically or portrayed as cartoon characters, like Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
  • You may see mermaids holding fish bone combs, which is an ancient symbol of power and feminine strength, or sea shell jewelry.
  • They can also be portrayed with mirrors, which is an association to the moon.
  • Mermaid tattoos may portray a mermaid watching the moon or sitting on a rock in the moonlight or in the dark, whether it be the darkness of dawn or the darkness of the deep waters.
  • Sometimes, you'll see an evil mermaid. These usually have fire red hair or scales. They may be portrayed with their hair blowing up or around their body like flames and an evil expression on her face.
  • Some tattoos may show the mermaid with natural powers, such as moving waves with her breath.
  • Sometimes, you'll see a mermaid portrayed as a pinup. Pinup girl tattoos became popular around the same time mermaid tattoos did and both were often worn by sailors.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source

Mermaid Tattoo Meanings and Interpretations

The mermaid is often seen as a strong female figure, one that is free, independent, and self-directed.

Due to the mermaid's connection with the sea, this tattoo design can symbolize nature, intuition, birth or rebirth, and creation.

Since she is often depicted luring sailors, she might represent danger, seduction, and sexuality.

She might also represent independence, freedom, mystery, a connection to the ocean, being tossed on the waves, or going with the flow.

Some believe that the mermaid represents magic.

Mermaid tattoos with mirrors may represent self value or self worth.

Overall, the mermaid tattoo represents everything about the female. Below, you can find more associated meanings:

  • Seduction
  • Sexuality
  • Persuasion
  • Emotion
  • Wildness
  • Intuition
  • Freedom
  • Independence
  • Self-Love
  • Mystery
  • Creation

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source

Before You Tattoo

  • Make sure that you take the time to research your tattoo. Take the time to fully understand what your design means and represents.
  • Don't rush to get tattooed! Those that do end up with regrets.
  • If you are not sure about a specific design, don't get it inked anyway. Take the time to think about it.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Richard Ricky Hale 

        6 years ago from West Virginia

        Das

        Anusujith

        Sacramentobroker

        Alastar

        Steven

        Kash

        Endless Sea

        Gypsy

        Fennelseed

        Unknownspy

        Max

        MM

        I kindly thank you all for your time and comments. They are greatly appreciated. I apologize for the late reply. I stay so busy anymore and I honestly try my best to keep up. Thanks to all of you! You all are right, the mermaid has a rich tradition in mythology and maritime myths and stories alike. I love history and I am glad that you all enjoyed that part of this article. Best wishes to all of you and see you soon.

      • Movie Master profile image

        Movie Master 

        6 years ago from United Kingdom

        Now these tattoo's are really 'wow'!!

      • BeyondMax profile image

        BeyondMax 

        6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

        Wow, so colorful, but some of them are kinda silly =) But cute.

      • unknown spy profile image

        IAmForbidden 

        6 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

        Wow and Wow! This is lovely :)

        i always love mermaid designs, tatoos, photos..this is great!

      • Fennelseed profile image

        Annie Fenn 

        6 years ago from Australia

        I can see how these seductive designs would appeal to the guys, but oh, how beautiful are the (female) mermaid tattooed legs, just beautiful body art. Mermaids have always been fascinating to me too. Lovely, informative hub. My votes and best wishes to you, Thelyricwriter.

      • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

        Gypsy Rose Lee 

        6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

        Voted up and awesome. These are really terrif Ricky. I've always loved the little mermaid.

      • endless sea profile image

        Akhand Pratap SIngh 

        6 years ago from Lucknow(U.P.) India

        As a lover of mythologies and sea's I have always loved mermaids and their stories and now I got to read about tattoos. It was nice read

      • kashmir56 profile image

        Thomas Silvia 

        6 years ago from Massachusetts

        Hi my friend,these mermaid tattoos are so colorful and very interesting !

        Vote up and more !!!

      • Steven Gray profile image

        Steven Gray 

        6 years ago from Pensacola, Florida

        Very interesting. Thanks for compiling the history with some good photographs.

      • Alastar Packer profile image

        Alastar Packer 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Mermaid tats sure do go way back and have a colorful history with mariners. Its cool to read about the mermaid traits and what one can symbolize for an inked female. Great pic selection too Ricky, what amazing style will you have for us next!

      • anusujith profile image

        Anoop Aravind A 

        6 years ago from Nilambur, Kerala, India

        Wow what a collection of mermaid tattoos... Thanks for the share...

      • daskittlez69 profile image

        daskittlez69 

        6 years ago from midwest

        That is a great tattoo.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, tatring.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://tatring.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)