Warning: This article deals with the sensitive topic of suicide.
What does a semicolon tattoo mean?
A semicolon tattoo is used as a message of affirmation and solidarity with people who have dealt with mental health issues, especially suicide. The idea is that in language, we use a semicolon to show that a sentence is not over yet, and in a tattoo, this may symbolize that your story and fight are also not over yet!
This is a topic that is near and dear to me. I lost my dad to suicide in 2020 after an intense and utterly devastating battle with depression. I feel that through open, honest conversations and bringing awareness to mental health, we can all work together to prevent people from feeling like they only have one way out!
I have seen an influx in semicolon tattoos, especially after the pandemic. I always feel honored and hopeful when a client asks for one of these very special tattoos!
Let’s take a look at some beautiful and unique semicolon tattoo ideas.
1. Fine Line Butterfly Semicolon Tattoo
I love the simplicity and gentle nature of this tattoo. It is also a subtle take on a semicolon tattoo – you really have to look closely to see it!
Butterflies symbolize faith, transformation, and freedom which pairs beautifully with a semicolon. I like the soft line work, lightly textured shading, and the use of white highlights in the translucent wings.
2. Mandala and Koi
I enjoy this take on a semicolon tattoo – the fish acts as the comma, and the mandala as the dot! It is such a clever way to illustrate a semicolon without being too obvious about what it is.
The line work is very fine and delicate, and the mandala is almost perfectly symmetrical. I like the soft shading, and the amount of open skin left throughout this tattoo. The koi fish is slightly decorative, which speaks to the mandala well! If you like koi fish tattoos, we have a lovely list of 36 Pisces Tattoos to Flood You with Delight
3. Bee and Honeycomb Semicolon Tattoo
At first, I really couldn’t find the semicolon in this tattoo, but on closer inspection, I saw it cleverly hidden in the honeycomb!
I like the composition of this tattoo and the use of texture to create a realistic feel to it. I like the shading under the bee, as it makes it look like the bee is sitting on the client’s arm! If you like this tattoo, check out our list of 20 Micro Realism Tattoos.
4. Care Bear Semicolon Tattoo
I absolutely love this little Care Bear tattoo! It is so cute and gentle and must really be packed with meaning for the client.
Each Care Bear has a symbol on its chest, which represents a way to tell someone, “I know how you’re feeling… I’ve felt that way too.”
The lines are extremely clean, and I love the very soft shading. The composition of the design works so well to fit the client’s arm, and I love the tiny sparkles and the little red hearts on the nose and the feet.
5. DnD and Yin Yang
This is a gaming-inspired semicolon tattoo with a twist. The fine line work is extremely clean and difficult to do on the chest.
I like the tiny numbers included on the dice and how the artist used a dynamic take on the comma by giving the Yin Yang a little tail. Yin Yangs symbolize unity and balance, which is perfect for this meaningful tattoo.
6. Book Stack Semicolon Tattoo
This tattoo could symbolize a love of books or how books saved this client’s life. I like how the books are stacked at different angles with the open book on top.
The flowers are beautiful and well-balanced with the rest of the tattoo. The semicolon is hidden on the spine of one of the books which is special and subtle.
The line work is clean, and I like the textured shading.
7. Text with Color Splash
I like this tattoo because it has such a special meaning to it. I like the size and placement because it is bold and makes a statement.
I love the semicolon being done in turquoise and as a replacement for the ‘i’ in ‘warrior’ as it has multiple meanings to it. The line work is very clean, and it looks like it has been done by a printer!
8. Meaningful Daisy
I like the simplicity of this tattoo and the flow that it has.
The wrist is a common placement for this style of tattoo, as clients often want to be able to see their semicolon tattoos to remind themselves to keep going.
I love the bold line work and the lovely little daisies. if you’re a fan of this tattoo, I recommend you check out our list of 20 Daisy Tattoos
9. Turtle and Wave
Turtle tattoos are associated with symbols of strength and stability, so they work perfectly as a symbol for mental health.
The turtle acts as the dot, and the wave has been illustrated to look like a comma of a semicolon. I love the soft dot work shading and the beautiful detail in the turtle’s shell. This is so unique and is one of my favorites on the list!
10. Custom Moth Semicolon Tattoo
What I love most about this tattoo is the placement and the unique way the semicolons are included in the pattern of the moth’s wings.
I like the interesting texture of the shading and the clean line work – this is a tricky spot to tattoo, so kudos to the artist! If you enjoy moth tattoos, we have a fantastic list of 22 Moth Tattoos to Admire.
11. Quail Cover-Up Semicolon Tattoo
I love this traditional take on a quail tattoo with a semicolon as its head plume! Scar cover-ups are quite difficult to do for both the client and the artist, but having a gentle and kind artist do the tattoo for you can make the experience so much easier.
I love the bold line weight and the branch behind the quail balances the design very well. I like the bold shading and the small details in the chest feathers and feet.
12. Tiger Lilies
This tattoo is so clean and elegant. I love how subtle the little semicolon is and the composition of the lilies.
This is a lovely way to combine two beautifully meaningful tattoos into one – for example, you could have your loved one’s birth flower as the flower and include the semicolon in the stem like this artist did!
13. Fine Line Lotus Tattoo
These lotus flower tattoos are quite difficult to do and get perfectly symmetrical, but this artist did such a good job!
I love the tiny semicolon on the bottom which balances with the dots on the top, creating a beautiful and gentle tattoo.
14. Heart and Text
This tattoo says it all – You Are Enough! I like the painterly brush stroke making up one side of the heart and the beautiful clean text on the other side. The heart is encasing the semicolon, which adds to the layers of meaning that this tattoo has.
15. Spirited Away
One of my all-time favorite movies has got to be Spirited Away.
The dot is a Soot Sprite – they are knowns for rewarding good people with kindness and therefore symbolize good fortune. The comma is No-Face – it represents the main character’s fear of abandonment and loneliness.
Together, they make for a beautiful and meaningful semicolon tattoo. I love the tiny detail in No-Face’s face and the little lines coming from the Soot Sprite. This design is so unique and cool!
This is a very expressive and interesting tattoo. I like the scribbled lines in the head, conveying a feeling of confusion.
The line work is very clean, and I like the soft shading in the hands and the lips. They included the semicolon in the text to replace the ‘i’ in the word ‘continue’.
This really speaks to the origin of the semicolon tattoo and its beautiful meaning.
17. Lady Bug
I absolutely love ladybugs and ladybug tattoos. They are so cute and packed with meaning around good luck, love, and happiness!
The artist chose to hide the semicolon in the spots on the ladybug’s back – this is such a unique way to include a semicolon in a tattoo!
I like the contrast between the bright red and green and the tiny details in the veins of the leaves and the bug’s feet. The color is well-saturated and I like the white in the bug’s head.
18. Jumping Whale
Whale tattoos symbolize a peaceful life, gentleness, and intelligence. I love this design because of its simplicity and the small Japanese-inspired clouds in front of the sun.
The jumping whale has great movement to it, the line work is clean and the placement is perfect.
This is a lovely, subtle take on a semicolon tattoo. I like how it is incorporated seamlessly along the stem of the wildflowers. The black is very well-saturated, and I like the tiny bit of shading in the flowers. This is an elegant and unique design!
20. Butterfly Semicolon Tattoo
This butterfly semicolon tattoo is slightly different from the others on this list because the design is of the full butterfly instead of just one side.
I love the fine line work and the gentle shading in the wings. The size of the semicolon is perfect as a replacement for the butterfly’s body, so it doesn’t look disjointed. The black is very well-saturated, and I like the attention to detail in the patterns in the wings.
21. Dynamic Flower Semicolon Tattoo
I love this feminine take on a semicolon tattoo where the semicolon forms part of the flower’s stem.
The line work is extremely clean, and I like the double outline on the flower. The placement and size of the tattoo is perfect for this client’s arm, and I think it will never lose its meaning.
22. Butterfly Semicolon Tattoo
I am not usually the biggest fan of watercolor tattoos, but I like this one because the artist chose to do it more tastefully than I typically see.
I like the shape of the watercolor splashes behind the butterfly, and the choice of green is beautiful. The design of the butterfly is dynamic and has a lot of movement to it!
23. Semicolon Cat Tattoo
This is a lovely little piece that symbolizes the furry friend by their side in time of need. Simple, yet effective.
24. Watercolor Semicolon Tattoo
This is another simple treatment of the symbol on the wrist, but it’s complimented by a colorful watercolor background splash.
25. Simple Semicolon Wrist Tattoo
Minimalism can go a long way with a tattoo of this magnitude, and this simple wrist piece is a great example of the style.
26. Semicolon Cross Tattoo
This is another simple treatment combining the semicolon inside of a traditional cross. These two powerful symbols are undoubtedly related to each other.
27. Dragonfly Semicolon Tattoo
This is a powerful forearm piece that combines a watercolor background with a dragonfly and “warrior” text. I like how subtle the semicolon is in this, you almost don’t see it unless you’re looking for it.
28. Infinity Semicolon Tattoo
Combining an infinity symbol with a semicolon has immense meaning, showing that the story for the wearer isn’t yet over.
Semicolon tattoos are a beautiful and permanent way to honor your personal or someone else’s struggles. They can be big or small, colorful or not, intricate or simplistic with a variety of placements, but each one will be packed with meaning and symbolize something powerful.
Hopefully, this selection has sparked your own unique idea!