While a tattoo can be as important or frivolous as you want it to be, getting a meaningful piece of ink is a great way to honor something or someone that means a lot to you. Plus, a design with meaning adds another layer of personalization to your tattoo, making it a genuinely unique design no matter how popular the symbol. And considering a tattoo will be with you forever (or until you remove it), getting a meaningful one means that you’ll enjoy being reminded of what it represents every time you look at it, rather than irritated.
One popular tattoo design with a lot of meaning behind it is the semicolon. In the context of grammar, a semicolon is used to combine two complete sentences that are related. In other words, a semicolon means that the thought is not quite over even though the sentence is—there’s still more to come. That sentiment is the idea behind Project Semicolon, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness of mental illness, self-harm, suicide, and addiction.
While you don’t have to get a semicolon tattoo because of its meaning, those who get the tattoo usually do so to honor someone—whether that’s a friend, a relative, or themselves—or to raise awareness of mental illness, suicide, addiction, or self-harm. A semicolon tattoo is more than just a visual representation; they’re often a conversation starter, meaning you can bring awareness to the cause while rocking your cool tat.
The semicolon’s flexibility as a design has made the symbol a popular tattoo choice, and it has led to tons of beautifully customized pieces of ink. If you’re considering getting a semicolon tattoo, here are more than two dozen ideas for how to personalize the design and make it even more meaningful.
This design utilizes a semicolon as the body of a butterfly, with wings attached. The symbolic message offers a lesson on beginnings, ends, and new life.
This dainty design offers the subtlest nod at the trend. Placement on the wrist is traditional for semicolon tattoos, making this one a classic.
This style puts a sweet twist on the traditional semicolon, pairing a heart with a comma beneath. This offers extra symbolism for those who get the art in honor of a loved one.
Placement on the wrist and black ink make this a classic take on semicolon art.
This tattoo places the semicolon within a two-strand floral wreath. It's proof that you can pair semicolons with other designs for an extra twist.
A semicolon gets topped with a diminutive diamond in this design. You could do a similar take on the look with a number of other shapes—a heart, a star...whatever you fancy.
This multicolored feather is anchored by a bold black semicolon. The symbol can be integrated into a variety of other designs.
A subtle sun design takes the place of the traditional period in this semicolon design. The sun adds the extra symbolism of dawn and new beginnings.
The luck of the Irish meets the symbolism of the semicolon with this unique take. Here, the semicolon is found within a three-leaf clover.
This bold style eschews a standard dot and comma for a wide, brush-stroke-like take on the trend. It looks great in black but could work with a wide variety of other hues, as well.
Back of the Neck
The back of the neck is a prime spot for a tattoo like this one, where the symbolism is only noticeable when your hair is worn a certain way.
Purple and Blue
The stunning, ombré-like shades of purple and blue add a fun hint of personality to this semicolon art.
Why settle for one design when you could have two you love? This style features both a striking floral brand and a semicolon—so you get the best of both worlds.
This strip of color is bold and beautiful, with blues and deep greens throughout. The semicolon offers the juxtaposition of bright white.
This series of rainbow dots are both striking and symbolic, with each grammatical nod offering a different point of view.
Leave it to Mickey to bring positivity to an already impactful symbol. This design pairs the fun of Disney's favorite mouse with a tie-dye-like medley of colors.
This design offers a double meaning: the semicolon to raise awareness for suicide prevention, and an arrow to represent that the wearer will continue on.
A truly unique take on the semicolon, this style features twin mermaids comprising the symbol. The colors and bold design make this one a showstopper.
Here, the semicolon stands in for an "i" in the word "warrior." The message and the symbol signify remaining steadfast against opposition.
At first glance, this simple design appears to be nothing more than a sunflower. But upon further inspection, you'll notice a semicolon takes residence within the flower's stem.
Butterflies are a popular semicolon design, but we like how this one is done in simple black ink, with the added twist of an abstract shape.
A beating heart tops a semicolon here for a "heartfelt" take on the trend. You could pair nearly any clip art with a semicolon, though the heart makes it extra symbolic.
This paint splatter design draws extra attention to the semicolon and allows the wearer to rock all their favorite hues of the rainbow.
Earth and Asteroid
This Big Bang-themed design sees a dinosaur-laden Earth colliding with an asteroid. Together, the shapes mimic a semicolon but with a fun, cartoonish twist.
This simple and elegant take on the look utilizes just two thin lines. But the varying colors (red and black) offer a complementary and more impactful design.
Flock of Birds
Here, the top of the semicolon breaks off into a flock of birds. The message is one of freedom and continuation.
A heart monitor line intersects with a semi-colon for this unique take on the design. This would also work with a soundwave (just take a soundwave clip from your favorite song and weave it into a similar design).
Here, a semicolon gets topped with a tiny cat head (perfect for cat-lovers, but it could be recreated with another shape, depending on your interests).
What better way to portray strength than to spell it out? This tattoo consists of an all-lowercase "brave." And rather than ending with a period, it ends with a semicolon, to suggest the bravery has only just begun.
Some of the more touching designs are those that utilize the semicolon at the end of a sentence to signify—as this design does—that your story isn't over.