What Do Tattoo Tears Mean


Tear Tattoos?

There has been much debate and confusion over “What Do Tattoo Tears” mean.  Well there are a number of ideas of what this tear tattoo means.  According to urbandictionary.com the original tear tattoo was first found in Australian prisons.  Kind of fitting since Australia was founded as an English penal colony.

Australian prisoners would forcibly place this tattoo on an inmate who was serving time, for being a sexual predator on minors (pedophile).  When an inmate was know to be incarcerated for this crime, other inmates would corner the pedophile and place the tattoo on the right eye, so that is very visible as there were on the left side of their cell.  This act was seen as proson justice and would be tollerate by most prisons.  This act is now very rare,in Australia today.

In the United States,  the meaning has changed quite differently over the years.  This prison theme with the tear was carried over to American prisons. At first it was introduced to show that the person was incarcerated in prison for killing someone.  This tear would symbolize remorse for that act, and usually get the tattoo after they had left prison.

tattoo ideas for remembering peopleDuring this time, outside of the prison world, some people got the tattoo for an entirely different reason. Although rare at the time, the tear tattoo represented the loss of a loved one, usually a wife or close family member.  This ink was supposed to symbolise remembrance and closure.

Another important factor with the tear drop tattoo, is if its colored in or just an outline of a tear.  If the tattoo is just an outline of a tattoo, then it represents that a friend was killed.  If a tear drop tattoo is colored in, than that means that your friend has been killed and that the wearer had avenged the friend’s death.

Now it has becoming a fad in pop culture, a number of celebrities have tear tattoos, like Lil’ Wayne and Amy Winehouse.

Lil Wayne's Tattoos


Lil’ Wayne

amy winehouse tatoos



Amy Winehouse


Author: Carl M. Baker

How Tattoos Went From Subculture to Pop Culture

How did this industry achieve this status though? Tattoos have certainly been scrutinized in the past and a visible feature that was once taboo has now become… normal?

Off Beat Ink : Tear Tattoo May Lead to Arrest

His tattoo is of two teardrops underneath his right eye which leads officials to believe he has spent time in prison. Teardrop tattoos are a common thread amongst convicts.

Tattooing In Modern Society

Tear tattoo, for example, can be symbolic of murder, where one tear symbolizes the loss of a friend. Also, the United States military have an equally well established and longstanding history of tattoos.

Do you know what the 3 tattooed tears mean on Lil’ Wayne?

When someone gets a tear tattooed on their face it means that they’ve killed someone. each tattoo represents one person.


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