Arrow tattoos were originally based on Native American tribal life, hundreds of years ago. The arrow represented an essential tool in hunter-gatherer communities, serving as a weapon in hunting and in war. Though a simple design, this symbol is extremely popular because of the powerful, positive meanings associated with it. If you’re interested in learning about all of the variations of the arrow tattoo, check out the list of arrow tattoo meanings below!
Arrow Tattoo Dictionary
Arrow on a Bow: in tattoo art, an arrow being pulled back on a bow symbolizes conflict, tension or life struggle.
Arrow Released from a Bow: a natural transition from the last symbol, the arrow that has just been released from the bow stands for a positive transition in one’s life- or more generally for moving forward.
Broken Arrow: a snapped arrow is symbolic of peace or the act of burying the hatchet- that is, putting away the weapon.
Bundle of Arrows: originally a representation of one of the five founding tribes of the Iroquois League, a tattoo design that shows a bundle of arrows signifies strength and unity.
Compass Arrow: this design has an arrow running through one of the compass’ directional points, to represent new direction, signifying anything from a new chapter in one’s life to a new relationship.
Crossed Arrows: a tattoo design showing two arrows that are crossed represents friendship.
Cupid Arrow: a tattoo design with an arrow piercing through the heart represents love or romance. In classical mythology, Cupid was the god of erotic love and desire, and being struck by his arrow would fill one with romantic desire for another.
Diamond Arrow: Since the diamond is known as one of the hardest, toughest materials on earth, an arrow shaft with a diamond shape on it symbolizes the courage to move forward or invincibility.
Downward Arrow: in Native Indian culture, a downward pointing arrow represents peace.
Feather Arrow: a feather through the shaft of an arrow stands for liberty, triumph, and independence.
Left Pointing Arrow: while most arrows point in the right direction, a tattoo with a left pointing arrow symbolizes the desire to chase something away from you.
Singular Arrow: a standard arrow design stands for defense or protection from harm.
Two Arrows Pointing Away: a tattoo design with two arrows pointing in opposite directions represents war or conflict.
A classic and simple design, the arrow represents many fundamental human values and truths. Whether it stands for harmony, conflict, or personal progress, the arrow is a time-honoured symbol that almost everyone can relate to. If you know of any additional interesting arrow design meanings, let us know in the comment section below!
Interested in learning about more tattoo design meanings? We’ve got the ultimate list of tattoo design meanings.