What Does A Rose Tattoo Mean?
There’s perhaps no better gift proving someone’s undying love than roses.
Coming in many different colors and with meanings across many cultures, the rose is a timeless tattoo design.
Here are some meanings of having a rose tattoo, all relating back to the theme of love:
- Life-Long Companionship
Love is the most basic interpretation of a rose tattoo, but also the most important one.
Rose tattoos often have to do with love, whether it’s romantic love or the love of a friend.
Rose tattoos also symbolize passion.
Passion is a part of being in love, but can also refer to passion for music, or for fashion.
A rose can signify life-long companionship with a best friend, partner, or even a pet.
Rose tattoos can represent one of these that you have loved in the past, present, or even are hopeful about in the future.
When the rose is shown with darker stylistic qualities, it can symbolize heartbreak.
It also commonly represents the death of someone you loved.
Rose Tattoo Meanings in Different Cultures
Japanese Rose Tattoo Meaning
Although more common in Eastern tattoo art, the Japanese rose tattoo refers to hope and love, a love that is relentless and all-consuming.
It is often accented with black and white lines or shading, and undoubtedly is one of the most beautiful flowers with additional tattoo meanings such as beauty and innocence.
Rose Tattoo in Central America
Members of the Mexican Mafia often get rose tattoos to symbolize an assault on a person considered an enemy.
This is considered a high honor and is a message of intimidation to other Central American Gangs.
Rose Tattoos in Russian Mafia
A rose tattoo is often the first tattoo someone gets when joining the Russian Mafia.
It’s a symbol of that member’s youth being torn away from them along with their innocence.
Mandala Rose Tattoo
A geometric, spiritual tattoo for Buddhists and Christians, the mandala symbolizes love and passion.
The mandala rose tattoo can be in many colors, all having different meanings.
For example, the pink rose mandala tattoo symbolizes first love.
Irish Rose Tattoo
Irish rose tattoos often show the rose sitting between the Celtic cross or the triquetra, a type of Celtic knot.
Ireland was once referred to as the black rose, still used as a metaphor for Ireland dating back to the 16th century.
The Meanings of Rose Tattoo Colors
With the addition of food dye, a rose can be any color.
Whether it’s a natural rose color or an artificial one, each color of rose tattoos symbolizes a unique reason why someone should wear one.
The following are examples of rose colors and their meanings:
Blue Rose Tattoo
The second most popular rose tattoo color, the blue rose tattoo often has black shadowing and white highlights and can be in any tattoo style.
The tattoo meanings behind the blue rose tattoo are fantasy, an unreachable dream, or a change in one’s self.
Black Rose Tattoo
The black rose tattoo is slowly becoming one of the more popular colors of rose tattoos.
It makes sense why so many people get a black rose tattoo; it has one of the most detailed tattoo meanings.
The black rose tattoo means grieving the death of a loved one: the rose typically means love, so when it’s black, it means that the loved one has died.
It also can refer to the death of bad habits or a bad event and growth into a new state of mind.
Purple Rose Tattoo
On this side of the meaning of love, purple rose tattoos mean magnetic love.
The tattoo meanings of this tattoo are enchantment, charm, and attraction.
White Rose Tattoo
The color white almost always symbolizes purity.
And since the rose almost always symbolizes love, put them together, and you have pure love.
This is a type of love that is innocent and sacred, sometimes even religious.
Yellow Rose Tattoo
A yellow rose tattoo can signify a start to something fresh in life, especially something that brings you joy.
People also get yellow rose tattoos in honor of a friendship they hold near and dear to their hearts.
Red Rose Tattoo
Undoubtedly the most common rose tattoo, red rose tattoos symbolize full-blooded passion and an unquenchable thirst for true love.
The red rose tattoo is a symbol of romance and can be received as a memory of someone you care about so that their love is always with you.
Orange Rose Tattoo
The orange rose tattoo can range in style from geometric to highly realistic-looking.
Its tattoo meanings are passion and happiness.
This tattoo can be done as a symbol of a friend that you are passionate about, not in a romantic way, but in the way of being life-long platonic companions.
Pink Rose Tattoo
The boring answer: pink rose tattoos symbolize love.
But there’s more to them than just that; pink rose tattoos symbolize a gentle caring love, and can even be placed with the breast cancer symbol to honor a loved one.
Half Black Half Red Rose Tattoo
When a rose tattoo, for example, has a black stem and leaves and a red flower, its black color symbolizes love lost or the sacrifices of love.
The red color refers to the passion involved with a true romantic escapade.
Therefore, the tattoo meanings of half red half black rose tattoos are undying love and the hardships associated with relationships.
Tattoo Meanings of Different Rose Designs
Being one of the most popular tattoos out there, the rose tattoo can be placed in many different ways and with many other symbols, each affecting its meaning.
Let’s take a look at how different rose tattoo designs change their symbolism:
- Snake & Rose Tattoo Meaning
A snake wrapped around a rose has many tattoo meanings.
These include corruption, evil passions, and the mastery behind the growth of all living things.
- Dagger Through Rose Tattoo Meaning
A dagger is a violent object, while the rose is a loving flower.
Therefore a duality plays into the dagger through the rose tattoo, symbolizing pain and beauty, mortality and life, love and heartbreak.
- Sword and Rose Tattoo Meaning
Like the dagger and rose tattoo, the sword and the rose tattoo is a symbol of duality.
If the sword is not through the rose, the tattoo means balance in life.
If the sword pierces the rose, it refers to opposites attracting or rebellion of youth.
- Money Rose Tattoo Meaning
A money rose tattoo shows the petals of a rose with bills of currency spiraling together.
The petals can either be highly symmetrical or look as if they are falling apart.
Depending on its style, this tattoo can represent mortality, the hypocrisy of wealth, or the struggle to survive in a capitalistic society.
- Lion & Rose Tattoo Meaning
The king of the jungle, the lion tattoo represents strength and power.
When a rose is added, the meaning is transformed into the strength of someone’s love for another.
- Skull & Rose Tattoo Meaning
Often attached aesthetically, these two symbols together mean unending love, sacrifice, and respect.
The death symbol of a skull tattoo mixed with the rose’s meaning of love can also refer to a memorial for the death of a loved one.
- Bleeding Rose Tattoo Meaning
The bleeding rose can be a very creative tattoo: but what does it mean?
The bleeding rose tattoo represents tears related to love as if the rose is crying.
Therefore it typically refers to heartbreak.
- Anchor & Rose Tattoo Meaning
Anchors represent stability and are associated with the ocean and sailors.
A typical tattoo for women, the anchor and rose tattoo represents a stable relationship, love, or honor.
- Dead Rose Tattoo Meaning
The dead rose tattoo typically depicts a thorny stem with a sinking flower head drooping down and slowly dying.
The tattoo meanings of the dead rose are heartbreak, loss of a loved one, or fading love.
- Owl & Rose Tattoo Meaning
Owls are often associated with the meaning of wisdom.
Therefore, owl and rose tattoos mean that you have learned from past relationships and that you are continuing to learn more about love.
- Dove & Rose Tattoo Meaning
Place a dove sitting in-between a bed of roses, and you can get many tattoo meanings.
This tattoo can represent beauty, love, warmth, and fondness.
- Wolf & Rose Tattoo Meaning
A wolf tattoo and a rose tattoo combine the fierceness and courage of the wolf with the love and heartbreak of the rose.
The tattoo meanings for this one are fighting through a tough heartbreak, or on the same but different track, fiercely loving someone.
- Compass & Rose Tattoo Meaning
Compass tattoos and rose tattoos signify a search for love.
This tattoo design means that you will never give up on searching for the love of your life.
- Cherokee Rose Tattoo Meaning
A Cherokee rose tattoo is an entirely different style of rose with white outward petals that don’t fold into each other quite as much and a yellow center.
Its meaning is taken from the legend of the Cherokee rose.
In the story, the Cherokee rose represents the blood and tears of the struggling Cherokee who were forced out of their homes to walk on the trail of tears.
- Pocket Watch & Rose Tattoo Meaning
This beautiful tattoo, typically done in red and black, symbolizes new beginnings.
The pocket watch means time passing or a whole lifetime, and when added to the rose it means that there is promise for a new chapter in your life.
- Dragon & Rose Tattoo Meaning
The dragon and rose tattoo symbolize power and passion, especially in love.
This tattoo represents passion matching the ferociousness of a dragon.
- Upside Down Rose Tattoo Meaning
Some people wear tattoos upside down to show their tattoos to the public rather than themselves.
However, be careful: upside-down tattoos can mean the opposite of their typical meaning.
In the case of the rose, when it is upside-down it can refer to heartbreak or the death of a lover.
- Long Stem Rose Tattoo Meaning
The long stem rose tattoo, particularly one with a lot of thorns, symbolizes heartbreak.
- Hourglass & Rose Tattoo Meaning
The hourglass tattoos and rose tattoo means that time will carry on between you and your loved one and you will be together forever.
- Flaming Rose Tattoo Meaning
Fire equals passion.
A flaming rose tattoo is a passionate tattoo symbolizing fervent desire.
- Heart & Rose Tattoo Meaning
Just like on Valentine’s Day, the heart and the rose tattoo symbolizes kind regards for a loved one or full on feelings of “I Love You!”
- Swallow and Rose Tattoo Meaning
This tattoo means you have a lot of love and compassion for your friends and family members.
- Three Rose Tattoo Meaning
Why one, when you can have three?
Three roses in a tattoo signify three times as much beauty and elegance.
It is used to emphasize one’s aestheticism as well as their belief that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
- Single Rose Tattoo Meaning
When someone gives you a single rose, it means that they are trying to express their love simply.
Without excess, the single rose tattoo conveys a love that is pure and deeply emotional.
- Four Leaf Clovers With a Rose Tattoo Meaning
We all know that the four-leaf clover means good luck, but when added to a rose tattoo it can mean “lucky to have met you,” or it can be a good luck charm for love to come your way.
- Noose & Rose Tattoo Meaning
A noose tattoo is a typical prison tattoo referring to death.
Mix that with a rose’s symbolism, you create a dark story of heartbreak or the death of a loved one.
It’s important to note that just because the rose mostly means something to do with love, doesn’t mean that’s always the case.
Remember, tattoo symbolism is always subjective to the individual and can have personal significance, unrelated to its typical meaning.
In the case of the rose tattoo, regardless of its meaning, it is a beautiful tattoo to wear— in any color.