Fork Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Fork Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Tattoos are a great way to show a part of yourself, and any simple object or idea can be conveyed through ink and brought to light.  The fork tattoo is no exception: although maybe an obscure item to some, it can pack powerful meaning behind it and can even be used as a prop in other, more seemingly complex tattoos. 

The fork tattoo is rumored to have the meaning of feeding one’s soul, although it can signify whatever the wearer desires.  The fork itself has a long history in human societies and the tattooing of its image onto skin likely became popular simultaneously with tattoos, in the 1930s.

Forks may seem simple to some of us, but they can actually convey a lot of different ideas depending on the setting they’re in.  This article reviews the history of fork tattoos, what they symbolize, what they mean, characteristics and styles of fork tattoos and where they’re usually located. 

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History Of Fork Tattoos

The history of the fork tattoo is a bit vague, considering its popularity has never been particularly overwhelming.  However, tattoos by the large have been around at least since 3300 BCE, and the fork itself has been around since the Bronze Age (2400-1900 BC), starting off as two-pronged.

Forks have even been found to be made of bone in archaeological areas in c. 1600- c. 1050.  After a slow evolution, they became the utensils we know today (3-pronged) around the year 1901.  It’s no wonder people have adopted these objects as tattoos, given the long amount of time they’ve been used.

The fork itself has historically been viewed as something that although necessary and common in everyday life, is an object that was at first viewed by the majority of people as odd and barbaric.  This piece of cutlery didn’t take hold until the early 1700s and although slow to be accepted, became a work of art for utensil designers.  

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What Do Fork Tattoos Symbolize?

Fork tattoos symbolize a variety of things, all depending upon a mixture of what ideas the wearer desires to convey.  Some fork tattoos simply symbolize the fork itself, nothing more, nothing less. Other fork tattoos represent feeding the soul, the mind or others (such as in cooking).

Other symbolizations involving the fork can include waiting for something better– this symbol originates from finishing a meal with guests and saving one’s fork because dessert is coming (something sweet, or something better than what life currently is in one’s future). It could also symbolize violence or stabbing

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Besides the symbolizations mentioned above, fork tattoos can also symbolize hunger- hunger for more out of one’s life, or even simply for food.  When placed beside someone, it can signify that person is hungry or ready to take on challenges/a ”hungry for more” type of attitude.  Finally, they can symbolize solidity.

More simply, fork tattoos can also signify stabbing into something, whether it be food as they’re most commonly used for, or even as a weapon.  These types of tattoos can also symbolize danger due to the sharpness of the fork’s prongs or high class society if the wearer gets an intricately drawn fork tattoo. 

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What Do Fork Tattoos Mean?

Fork tattoos’ meaning can change drastically depending on which settings they’re placed in and even how they’re embellished.  For example, a chef may decide to get a beautifully engraved fork tattoo on his wrist to remind himself of how much he enjoys cooking, or a connoisseur of foods may do the same to reminisce about eating.

Some fork tattoos have meanings that point towards the preference for certain foods, such as a fork digging into a sunny side up egg or a strip of bacon.  Others focus on the beauty cutlery can bring, with big, beautifully designed engraved forks next to floral patterns.  These may likely mean that the wearer enjoys the finer things in life.

Other meanings that may lie behind the fork tattoo can include the wearer enjoys vintage, antique or ancient cultures or ways of doing things.  Forks can be designed so detailedly that they can almost imitate any ancient culture one chooses, and can even be used to convey humorous or sarcastic meanings.

Fork tattoos can also have a hidden meaning of family; the fork is a member of a set of other utensils when we consider table setting.  When drawn with other utensils, it can mean unity, teamwork, family or even companionship. A fork drawn with a spoon and knife could mean family is important to the wearer.       

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Where Are Fork Tattoos Usually Located?

Fork tattoos can be located anywhere on the body, but they’re most predominantly located on the forearms and legs.  Fork tattoos can be strategically placed in different fashions; for example, one can inscribe a fork tattoo on one wrist and a knife tattoo on another to signify “digging in” to life and its challenges. 

Fork tattoos placed on the leg allow for wider depictions of the utensil, while fork tattoos placed on the arm allow for longer representations.  Choosing a location for your fork tattoo can also depend on the message you would like to send, for more personal messages, you may choose a more commonly hidden location for placement.

For those that wish to remind themselves of how to set a table properly, the correct dining table setup can be tattooed on one’s forearm so it faces the wearer, not observers, to serve as a simple reminder.  The fork can also be a symbol of sturdiness and solidity, something that would be well displayed on the upper section of an arm.  

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Fork tattoos surprisingly symbolize a lot of different things depending on the individual donning it.  With a rich history, it is no wonder that people decide to get fork tattoos inscribed on their skin.  Fork tattoos can symbolize the hunger for more, the love of cooking and more.  Fork tattoos are usually placed on arms and legs, but can look great anywhere.    

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