The arrow is a symbolic tattoo choice, such as a protective solitary shaft, or pair of arrows that may delineate war, peace, or friendship depending on the way you ascribe it.
Single arrow tattoos, doubles, triples, whole quiver ink, or imagery accompanying them can change the meaning based on angle, direction, body placement, or whether they’ve been etched alongside a bow or other items.
The vast array of symbolic meanings can further adapt your arrow tattoo to your own personal beliefs, life experiences, and personality traits, which makes them one of the 50+ best tattoo ideas.
Additionally, the simplicity of the arrow design means that it usually does not require a lot of time to finish, giving newbies or the cost-conscious a taste of the tattoo experience without being overwhelming.
The following article establishes the range and depth of arrow tattoo meanings and will give you possible options for future choices you can take to your tattoo artist.
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Traditional Symbolism in Arrow Tattoo Design
Arrow tattoos are among the most timeless personal symbols, making them a classic tattoo design, engineered to show off your flair and personality.
The symbolic meaning of an arrow tattoo depends largely on the number of arrows involved and the way they are positioned.
1. Single Arrow Tattoo Variations
Some common representations of the single arrow tattoo design include love, direction, power, physical strength, and masculinity.
An arrow pointing down means peace, while one facing left or right can ward off evil or act as protection.
An arrow pointing straight up leads to more spiritual interpretations, while for some the feathers in an arrow are an empyrean representation of souls on the path to heaven, and are etched as a memorial to someone close who has passed away.
A solitary arrow passing through a diamond, for example, can represent you moving forward through a challenge in your life, while the symbolic meaning of one being shot through a target or bullseye suggests you have successfully completed an important milestone.
2. Two Arrow Designs
The exact meaning of a two arrow tattoo is extremely dependent on the wearer and what meaning they aim to convey to themselves and those viewing their ink.
A tattoo design with two arrows pointing in opposite directions represents war or conflict, with the concept dating back to Native American culture.
If the two arrows are crossed (and often utilized with a secondary compass tattoo or supporting image), the tattoo most likely represents friendship and camaraderie.
Many people get two crossed arrows as a dedication to someone they love or have a close relationship with. They also make brilliant matching tattoos for lovers, friends, or family members.
Two arrows in opposite directions may represent a conflict or war, but if the arrows form a cross, they will represent closeness. In chemistry, the opposite-pointing arrows represent equilibrium.
3. Three Arrow Tattoos
Three arrow tattoo pieces are often used to symbolize direction and movement during important decisions and life changes.
They can also be applied to tattoos amongst a trio of friends, especially when the three arrows cross at the midpoint of the shaft.
For some, a multitude of arrows – from two onwards – can be used in a matching arrow tattoo to depict the number of children or siblings in a family group.
4. A Broken Arrow Tattoo
An arrow with the tip broken off of it may seem like it represents defeat, but means it is the end of a skirmish, battle, or the complete culmination of war within.
When depicted broken into two or many pieces, the broken arrow tattoo becomes a symbol of peace, reconciliation, and a new chapter. After a time of conflict, a person surrenders their weapon with the goal of moving on toward more peaceful times.
5. A Bundle Of Arrows Tattoo Idea
A number of arrows grouped together in a bundle, or etched in a quiver, is usually a reference to being ready for battle.
Their collective strength also can be applied to tattoos exploring the concepts of strength, loyalty, and unity.
An arrow bundle also ties in with the Native American tribes that formed the Iroquois League, which furthers the concept of unity.
Images and Styles Supporting Arrow Tattoo Design
When the arrow design is made with different styles or application techniques it adds a distinctively contemporary twist to the design.
The far-reaching symbolic meanings of arrow tattoos mean that they make an excellent choice for expanding styles and tattoo ideas.
6. Bow and Arrow Tattoo Meanings
For those valuing strength or protection, a bow and arrow tattoo adds a rugged touch to any aesthetic.
A bow set to fire an arrow is considered a tattoo symbol of conflict and tension. The tension comes from the fully drawn bow, waiting to launch the arrow and create finality to an idea, relationship, or situation.
Bow and arrow symbol tattoos change their perspective the second they are shot at a target. Most often they are linked to positive momentum and decision making and can include ideas such as Cupid’s arrow, Zodiac tattoo, or even feather arrow designs.
7. Geometric Arrow Tattoo
A geometric style tattoo adds an element of innovation and uniqueness to almost any of the concepts outlined above. It’s rare to see two identical geometric arrows, while they can look fantastic encapsulated into 3D body art, linework style, and even mind-bending designs made into a matching tattoo.
Geometric arrow design is often etched in black, due to the high degree of line work involved. A blackwork tattoo often makes the lines stand out but also incorporates elements of negative space. They are an attractive and cost-effective method of bringing your arrow tattoo ideas to life on the skin.
8. American Traditional Arrow Tattoo
American traditional style arrow symbolism in tattoo art is often a cultural reference to Native American culture. The tribesman hunted for their family’s survival with the bow and arrow or protected their family with the bow and arrow during times of conflict.
The arrow travels in a straight path with righteous purpose, and a traditional arrow tattoo symbolizes focused forward movement with beauty and finesse.
Throughout history archers have relied on the aerodynamic design of the arrows to provide the direct and precise forward movement they needed to accurately hit their targets, ensuring the survival of their people with maximum efficiency and minimal suffering.
Paying close attention to the placement of the arrow is vitally important for obtaining the correct symbolism, especially the direction the arrow is pointing. An arrow pointing straight ahead refers to positive movement forward.
9. Compass Arrow Tattoo
Many people like to get simple or small arrow tattoos combined with a compass signifying north, south, east, and west.
In this design, the arrow symbolism involves traveling in a new direction (physically, mentally, or spiritually), and can reference anything from a new chapter in one’s life to a new relationship or career path.
For a simple arrow tattoo, the compass also signifies a yearning for home while away and provides a means to signify a connection to what people have left behind.
Compass arrow ink can also reference time travel or the past, present, and future ideals of the self, as well as the limitations that people have operated under previously.
10. Arrow Symbolism and Sagittarius Tattoo
Those born between November 23 and December 21 may have a special interest in the arrow tattoo, which is part of the symbol of the zodiac sign Sagittarius.
The Sagittarius sign is based on the silhouette of an archer drawing back the string of a bow, as old-time astrologers read the shape of the constellation in the night sky.
Those born under the Sagittarius sign are said to be optimistic, intelligent, personality-driven, and lovers of fun and travel, that speak truthfully with little artifice.
The Sagittarius arrow tattoo can represent the relationship between heaven and earth, surety and plain-speaking, or just a simple note that you are a part of the Zodiac Sagittarius symbol.
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What does an arrow tattoo symbolize? ›
Arrow tattoos naturally represent the ideas of struggle and triumph thanks to its use as a tool and weapon. A design that features an arrow being pulled back on a bow represents tension, conflict, or life struggle. On the other hand, an arrow resting on a bow may instead represent the achievement of peace and calm.What does arrow tattoo facing down mean? ›
Downward pointing arrow: In Native American culture means peace. Feathered arrow: Triumph and independence.What does the 3 arrow tattoo mean? ›
The Lucky Few tattoo features a simple, minimalist design of three arrows that Mica says represent “the three 21st chromosomes and how we rise up and move forward.” It began as a simple bonding moment for a few new friends, but quickly went viral when pictures of their matching tattoos were shared on social media.What does 2 arrows tattoo mean? ›
The tattoo of two arrows crossing each other is a common symbol for friendship and close ties to one another. The arrows symbolize togetherness where they meet as if they are linked in the same path.Where should I put an arrow tattoo? ›
Where should I put an arrow tattoo? The placement of your chosen tattoo is just as important as your design. Depending on your preference, you can get a small piece tattooed onto your finger or wrist. Alternatively, you can opt for larger ink on your arm.What is spiritual arrow? ›
Spiritual arrows are invisible attack from the powers of darkness to cause harm or untimely death in their victims. There are different types of arrow of darkness the enemy can fire at his victim. There is the arrow of death as seen in 2 kings 4:18-22.Should arrow tattoos point up or down? ›
In Native American tradition, the detail of how an arrow tattoo was rendered could affect its meaning. An arrow tattoo facing left was meant to ward off evil, while an arrow tattoo facing right signified protection. An arrow tattoo facing down or a broken arrow meant peace or settling a feud.What is the downside arrow symbol? ›
The arrow symbol ↓ may refer to: The downward direction, a relative direction.What does arrow mean in life? ›
And while it was naturally considered a tool of war and sustainability of life (as a means for hunting and protection), the arrow was also a symbol of peace, alliance, and other philosophical ideas. For Native Americans, the arrow quite literally meant life.What does the 3 upside down arrow mean? ›
The Three Arrows, originally designed for the Iron Front, became a well-known social democratic symbol representing resistance against monarchism, Nazism, and communism during the parliamentary elections in November 1932.
What do two crossed arrows mean? ›
Crossed arrows, a Native American symbol of friendship, are adorning designs to reflect a message just as sweet.What does 3 crossed arrow mean? ›
One arrow typically represents direction moving forward. Two arrows crossed represent friendship and or peace. Perhaps the three crossed arrow symbol represents moving forward with friendship or a long-lasting friendship.What does 4 arrow tattoo mean? ›
Represents the four pillars of heroism. Courage, compassion, selflessness, and Loyalty.What does 5 arrow tattoo mean? ›
Latest Tattoos. A bundle of five arrows indicates strength. A single arrow can easily be broken; however, breaking five arrows is tough.Which way should an arrow point? ›
Arrows should always point towards the location being directed to, not into text! In the image above, there is a great example of arrows being used correctly. Gates 557 – 566 are to the left and so the arrow is on the left and pointing towards the space where the gates are.What are the symbols for moving forward in life? ›
Delta Symbol. Upper (arrow) means progress, moving forward; open delta means opennes to change.What do arrow tattoos mean for guys? ›
Whether you are a hunter or you have Native American ancestry, a bow and arrow tattoo stands for strength and power. They can also represent a sense of direction and knowing that you are moving forward along the right path.Should arrow be inside or outside? ›
The arrow is truly supposed to be placed on the same side you shoot with. If you're right handed then right side. Not only can you shoot consecutive arrows faster but more accurate as well. Western archery does it as described in the previous comment - Arrow is on the outside of the bow.What is God's arrow? ›
The phrase "Arrow of God" is drawn from an Igbo proverb in which a person, or sometimes an event, is said to represent the will of God.What is divine arrows? ›
The user can create arrows formed from divine powers and are capable of having various effects on the universe,ranging from positive to destructive through their powers. The arrows are able to take on the forms of energy, the elements,animals as well as other transcendent weaponry.
Is arrow in the Bible? ›
The word arrow is not to be found in the New Testament. In the Old Testament it is used repeatedly, especially in the Psalms. It comes from the root Hebrew word which means to divide, to cut into two parts; then that which cuts in two, divides, wounds, destroys; and finally, an arrow with its cutting head.Where do tattoos hurt the most chart? ›
- Armpit. The armpit is among the most painful places, if not the most painful place, to get tattooed. ...
- Rib cage. The rib cage is probably the second most painful place for most people to get tattooed. ...
- Ankles and shins. ...
- Nipples and breasts. ...
- Groin. ...
- Elbows or kneecap. ...
- Behind the knees. ...
Any arm, right or left, would be good for a tattoo. The choice boils down to your personal preferences. Just make sure your skin is free of moles.Which arrow means better than? ›
The greater than symbol is >. So, 9>7 is read as '9 is greater than 7'. The less than symbol is <. Two other comparison symbols are ≥ (greater than or equal to) and ≤ (less than or equal to).What is the upside arrow symbol called? ›
“↑” U+2191 Upwards Arrow Unicode Character.What does a directional arrow mean? ›
In a cognitive sense, a directional arrow symbolizes motion.Should an arrow tattoo point up or down? ›
In Native American tradition, the detail of how an arrow tattoo was rendered could affect its meaning. An arrow tattoo facing left was meant to ward off evil, while an arrow tattoo facing right signified protection. An arrow tattoo facing down or a broken arrow meant peace or settling a feud.What does arrow tattoo mean for guys? ›
Whether you are a hunter or you have Native American ancestry, a bow and arrow tattoo stands for strength and power. They can also represent a sense of direction and knowing that you are moving forward along the right path.What is the symbol for moving forward? ›
Delta Symbol. Upper (arrow) means progress, moving forward; open delta means opennes to change.