As a tattoo commentator and writer, I rely on my personal experience and time working in a tattoo studio.
Quotes can be some of the most powerful—yet still very personal—of the tattoo types. Although there are many similar tattoo quotes out there, each one is special and meaningful to the owner. Quotes are a way to define yourself, your values, and your beliefs. They set a standard that will guide you for life and will always be there in the mirror.
From famous literary works to the colloquial sayings from our childhood, a person can choose from among the millions of words in the English language, or indeed the numerous languages of the world. Combine your favourite quote with awesome scripting or fonts and the result will be truly personal.
With so many options, size is only limited by the amount of words you have in your quote and which font you use. You can alway include other design elements, although it can be slightly tricky and may detract from the quote.
Every tattoo, regardless of size, needs aftercare. Unfortunately, a blur in a quote caused by infection can make it unreadable.
What to Avoid when Getting a Quote Tattooed
- Misspellings. The most important thing to do before getting your tattoo is to thoroughly CHECK THE SPELLING! **Double-check the spelling and grammar once the transfer has been applied to your skin. Type it all into Google, letter for letter. Be sure, because this is what will eventually be tattooed permanently on you, forever.**
- Misinterpretations. If your quote is in another language, show someone fluent in that language first. That way they can tell you what it says and if there is any other interpretation than the one you know. Once you have confirmed the words and quote are correct from your independent source, take in the exact lettering to your tattoo artist.
- Misquotes. If the quote has more than a few words, physically check it against the actual source. Make sure nothing is missing, there are no wrong words, and it's in the correct order. Remember, a quote is referencing what someone has said before, not what we think they may have said.
- Illegibility. Don't allow the actual font of the letters to become too fancy with a lot of flourishes, or your tattoo could become hard to read.
- Trying to Say Too Much. Consider that very long passages, besides being more expensive, become tedious to read. Over time, the letters will blend into one another.
Where to Find Your Unique Quote
- lyrics of a song
- a poem
- a saying
- an excerpt from a book
- line from a movie
- something learnt at school
- something your parents said to you as a kid
- a line from an influential speech
- a meme
50 Short Tattoo Quotes for Inspiration
- Live free, fear nothing.
- Only God can judge me.
- All is fair in love and war.
- Fall down seven times, stand up eight.
- Life goes on.
- Love never fails.
- The ones that love us never really leave us.
- What goes around, comes around.
- Let it be.
- What doesn't kill me makes me stronger.
- If you don't live for something, you'll die for nothing.
- Life's too long to wait.
- Reality is wrong; dreams are for real.
- Make a joyous noise.
- Laugh as much as you breathe, love as long as you live.
- Happiness depends upon ourselves.
- Dream as if you'll live forever: Live as if you'll die today.
- God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.
- Live the life you have imagined.
- If you want to sing out, sing out.
- Love the sinner, hate the sin.
- Be the change you want to see in the world.
- Make it count.
- The past is practice.
- Life's too short.
- I am the architect of my own destruction.
- Stand for something or you'll fall for anything.
- Wars begin in the minds of men.
- Live, laugh, love.
- Take a breath and be strong.
- A single rose can be my garden, a single friend, my world.
- Pursuit of happiness.
- I love you to the moon and back.
- Sometimes it's better to let things go.
- Family first.
- Life goes on.
- Everybody dies, but not everyone lives.
- Dying to live.
- Look after my heart, I gave it to you.
- Family is forever.
- Live with Passion.
- Never a failure, always a lesson.
- We accept the love we think we deserve.
- Never run faster than your Guardian Angel can fly.
- Never give up.
- I'd rather be hated for who I am than be loved for who I'm not.
- No regrets.
- Too weird to live, too rare to die.
- Life is an experiment.
- You must walk through hell to get to heaven.
Popular Places to Get Quotes Tattooed
- Side of torso
- Back of neck
- Inner arm (top)
- Anywhere on your body you want! (except your face - that just doesn't work!)
Longer Tattoo Quotes
- Life is not measured by the amount of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
- It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.
- Do not let the world make you hard and heavy: all beautiful things are wild and free.
- The difference between the possible and the impossible is a person's determination.
- Even though I walk through the valley of death, I fear no evil.
- You don't know what you're alive for until you know what you will die for.
- Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
- Well-behaved women seldom make history.
- Family: Where life begins and love never ends.
Public Service Announcement
I have to quickly say, tattoos are forever. Removal is an extremely painful, lengthy, and expensive process. An average-sized tattoo can take anywhere up to 5-8 visits and is said to hurt way more than getting the tattoo ever did.
So take a bit of time to think about your new tattoo. Where you will put it on your body. Maybe buy some temporary tattoos and see if you like them first?
Also, think about your tattoo in the future, like in 20 years, because it will still be with you then. Cutesy little rainbows and unicorns are sweet at 18, but what about when you're 45 years old?
Further Information from the Author
- How to Get a Tattoo and Not Have it Hurt. Tattoo Numbing Cream and Dr Numb
Dr Numb tattoo numbing cream is an option to reduce the pain while getting a tattoo. Learn what is in a numbing cream, what it does and how it works.
- Reviews of the Best Tattoo Aftercare Kits for Complete Tattoo Protection and Healing
Reviews of the Best Tattoo Aftercare Kits available to assist you through all the stages of your tattoos healing and protection.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Geoff on December 16, 2015:
Very Interesting quotes. I love this "Laugh as much as you breathe, love as long as you live."
Dawn Vickers on December 05, 2015:
I have a quote on my inner wrists that says 'Choose to keep going, this too, shall pass' with a semi-colon. This is to remind myself that things don't stay bad all the time. As a sufferer of four different mental health disorders, it has a very personal meaning for me.
Josep from Kenya on June 05, 2014:
That is a nice analysis of tattoo quotes. Whether on a tattoo or on a book, a quote has the power of inspiring.
Anne (author) from Hobart, Tasmania ~ Australia.(The little bit broken off the bottom of AUS) on June 04, 2014:
Yeah, who knew words of wisdom would come from Harry Potter, but in saying that a lot of Disney movies have pretty cool quotes too.
Thanks for your nice comment!
Rebecca Hillary from Yorkshire on June 04, 2014:
Very interesting. I have a dragon on my upper arm with my kids' dates of birth, but no quotes as of yet.
Definitely considering getting "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live". I love that quote. Who knew it was possible to get tattoo ideas from Harry Potter?
Anne (author) from Hobart, Tasmania ~ Australia.(The little bit broken off the bottom of AUS) on June 01, 2014:
Hi Kathleen, yup I have to say 'same', several tattoos but no quotes.
I think for me I haven't found one that really warrants tattooing...although I have always liked the quote "what goes around, comes around" on my wrist....hmmm - one day
Thanks for your kind words too.
Kathleen Odenthal from Bridgewater on May 31, 2014:
Interesting hub, I have several tattoos and have never been a huge fan of script, but I like the photos you chose.