Skip to content

Teardrop Tattoo Meaning

by TattoosNear 14 Sep 2022

The popularity of the teardrop tattoo has skyrocketed in recent years, largely thanks to the fact that many well-known persons, including rapper Lil Wayne and singer Amy Winehouse, have had them. Many people associate the teardrop design with inmates, but this tattoo has many other possible meanings. Even though not everyone should get a tattoo, for some people, it's the best method to show the world how they feel.

The "stick and poke" teardrop tattoo originally represented tears by being placed under the eye. The fact that you know so little about the tattoo's owner outside that fact is intriguing. You can't infer the message, either, since it can range from being gloomy to very sorrowful. Even though the teardrop can signify several meanings depending on the context and the person wearing it, most people still associate it with negative meanings.

Historically, the teardrop tattoo has been stigmatized due to its association with criminal groups and gangs. However, in recent years the symbol has become trendy or relevant to individuals who obtain the tattoo for reasons other than crime while retaining its antisocial beginnings.

This tattoo is often made for small portions of the body, such as the fingers. Still, it is most commonly found on the face beneath one or both eyes.

Related Knowledge: Want to know what tattoo designs look good on you? Temporary tattoos 🔗 are appealing because it lets you try out body art without the permanent commitment. It is also a fun way to change your appearance or experiment with different placements before taking the plunge and getting inked for real. This is an excellent choice for anyone thinking about getting a tattoo but wants to see how it would look first, or for someone who cannot get inked for whatever reason, including pain tolerance or health problems. The temporary tattoo is also cheap, easy to apply, and lets you express yourself without hassle. Choose from a wide range of symbolic designs or something simple or cute. The choice is yours, so have fun with it. 

Teardrop Tattoo Meanings

Teardrop Tattoo

In many cases, a teardrop tattoo symbolizes someone guilt. In addition to serving as a badge of honor, these tattoos serve as a deterrent to other inmates. There are cases where the number of teardrop tattoos running down a person's face is proportional to the number of bad people they have committed, as evidenced by the presence of three or more teardrops in a row.

In addition to indicating sad thing, the teardrop can signify other heinous crimes. The teardrop is not limited to representing a single form of criminal activity. Still, it can instead represent crime in its entirety. Again, this might be a badge of honor or a ploy to blend in with the criminal underworld.

The teardrop tattoo is also widely used as a symbol of a prison sentence served. Although it may not seem like something someone would want to flaunt, getting a tattoo like this might earn you respect in specific communities. While the former is more common, a person may acquire a teardrop tattoo to constantly remind them that they do not wish to return to prison.

For example, a cascade of tears could symbolize a string of bad people, or it could stand for the years spent behind bars. There are times when each tear signifies one life lost or one year in prison, and other times when a single teardrop represents ten or twenty lives or years. The significance of the number is sometimes lost in translation. However, it does serve to set apart one teardrop tattoo from another.

The teardrop becomes a paradoxical symbol, given that the perpetrators of these acts may or may not feel remorse and that tears are usually a sign of sadness. The wearer of a teardrop tattoo may look melancholy at first glance. Still, in reality, they are immensely proud of the symbol it represents. However, as you will see in the following section, many people today genuinely receive teardrops to signify their melancholy.

After completing a prison sentence, the recipient may be awarded a teardrop as a mark of regret. In this context, the teardrop symbolizes both the lessons learned from one's failures and the drive to go forward in a more positive direction. Typically, only a single teardrop is included in such tattoos. This is one of the few facial tattoos with a negative connotation.

Without gang links, the teardrop tattoo is more acceptable as a memorial or honor to a departed loved one. The teardrop symbolizes melancholy, and the tattoo's permanence highlights how long that sadness will last. Sometimes, the owner of a memorial tattoo will include the person's initials or another symbol that is a constant reminder of the departed to make the tattoo their own.

When the inmate's spouse or significant other gets the tattoo to support their partner behind bars, it is called a "teardrop tattoo," and it is less common. Getting a tattoo can symbolize acceptance and closure for someone grieving or waiting for a loved one's release from jail. The musician Amy Winehouse is often cited as an example of someone who famously got a teardrop tattoo to show their support for a boyfriend who they believed was unfairly imprisoned.

A teardrop tattoo can also be a symbol of a person's struggle with their inner demons. However, this is a less common explanation. People with gang membership may obtain such tattoos not as a mark of distinction but as a means of distancing themselves from their past. Tears are a sign of sadness and pain, to be sure. Still, they may also indicate that the person is aware of their shortcomings and is taking steps to improve their situation.

If you want to emphasize the romantic connotations of the teardrop, you can draw it with a double-curved top or bottom. It's also possible to do this with memory tattoos or even the more conventional type of love tattoo. Some consider the teardrop one of the best love tattoos since it permanently displays the wearer's devotion to the object of their affection on their face.

In recent years, some people have altered the teardrop tattoo's original meaning to represent counterculture and defiance of the conventional. They intend for people to notice their teardrop designs and wonder whether there is something unusual about them. It's a strategy for getting people to see them, not because they crave attention but to demonstrate that they can succeed in life by going against the grain. Of course, there are times when these individuals seek to draw attention to a problem with how society is currently functioning.

No matter how elaborate or simple, the symbolism behind a teardrop tattoo is something that stays with the wearer forever. People that get teardrop tattoos typically don't want to talk about the significance of the meanings. That's fair, but it's also why many onlookers presume those who sport such tattoos have served time in prison or perhaps committed bad behavior.

Teardrop Tattoo Designs and Placement

How the teardrop is put together indicates its intended meaning as a criminal or prison tattoo. The outline of a teardrop denotes mourning and grief. Yet, a solid teardrop of a different color signifies that the victim's life has been exacted justice. The person may start with just an outline of the tattoo and fill it in after they've gotten their retribution. Black or a traditional old-school blue is typically used for these tattoos; other, brighter hues are uncommon due to the symbol's mournful nature.

There's room inside the teardrop for an initial to memorialize the departed. Still, it can also be left blank or filled in entirely. Even though this is typically done in very basic script, some designs feature a larger inner teardrop area, allowing for more room for individualized wording.

The teardrop tattoo can be a personal representation of the struggle with pain or disaster and is not limited to placement on the finger. In this sense, the teardrop is a universal symbol expressing grief in many forms. Instead of being applied to the face, people often put a drop or two on each finger. It's usually strapped to an index finger or fingers so those digits can be positioned under a weeping eye. The teardrop tattoo represents sadness that does not require a facial tattoo. In most cases, the tears on the fingers are shaded a pale blue and highlighted in white to give the image more dimension. Additional colors, such as pink or another soft color to feminize the symbol, a pattern, or a favorite color, are utilized to further distinguish the tattoo as unique to the wearer.

When added to other symbols, teardrops strengthen their meaning. The semicolon is frequently used to symbolize those who have overcome mental health challenges such as suicidal thoughts or depression. The semicolon's comma might be reshaped into a teardrop to signify the emotional toll of the situation. Making the teardrop look like it's streaming from someone's eye is a simple way to clarify the tattoo's meaning. The symbolic meaning of a teardrop is sadness, a very individual challenge. Alternatively, the teardrop can represent intensity and enthusiasm rather than melancholy.


Since teardrop tattoos are commonly placed on the face, where many people will automatically attribute negative meanings, we advise giving the decision a lot of thought before proceeding. While it's true that new upbeat meanings of teardrops are emerging, you should still expect the worst while showing off this tattoo design. Because it is always on display, this tattoo is often at the top of people's lists of those they later came to regret acquiring.


Prev Post
Next Post
Someone recently bought a
[time] ago, from [location]

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Edit Option
Back In Stock Notification
this is just a warning
Shopping Cart
0 items