Green Arrow Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Green Arrow Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

If you’re looking for a tattoo with a simple design and a wealth of potential meaning, you might want to consider a green arrow. Green arrows possess not only a wide range of designs, but also a number of associations with everything from ancient symbolism to pop culture references.

As a tattoo, the Green Arrow can be presented as everything from a stylized arrowhead to a full arrow. The symbolism behind it is just as diverse, ranging from the ancient symbol of protection to a representation of a popular modern show by the same name.

This article explores the history, symbolism and various designs attributed to Green Arrow Tattoos.


What is The History of Green Arrow Tattoos?

Arrow tattoos have been around for many years. North American tribal cultures used the arrow tattoo to symbolize strength, protection, and peace or conflict.

The addition of color came later, with a green arrow symbolizing a way forward.

When this became popular for tattoos isn’t certain, but it’s thought to be connected both to modern signals such as traffic signs, and to the popular comic, The Green Arrow.


What Do Green Arrow Tattoos Symbolize?

When connected to pop culture today, they symbolize the character of a well known comic – Green Arrow.

Green arrows can also symbolize safety, or permission to move forward, or in a certain direction, a meaning that has been adapted from their common use in traffic signals.

Older meanings include safety and protection, and the warding off of evil. An arrow was thought to symbolize strength and focus, and the willingness to fight a battle.

North American tribal cultures used the arrow to symbolize protection. Sometimes it was also used to symbolize the ending of a fight or a feud.


What Meaning Do Green Arrow Tattoos Usually Carry?

There are a number of meanings a Green Arrow can carry.

Among individuals heavily inspired by comics and heroes, a Green Arrow tattoo can symbolize the person is a fan of The Green Arrow, a popular comic book and television series.

Outside of this pop culture reference, the meaning is more likely to be associated with protection, safety, or the desire to move forward.

A green arrow may symbolize a person’s intention to move forward, to get past a difficulty or a problematic period in their life.

When used in a tribal design or traditional manner, it may also mean a person is defending themselves from bad influences, or has a desire to defend others from the same.

It may also symbolize a willingness to fight for personal convictions and one’s own moral code, no matter what obstacle is encountered. Thus the personal meaning may be a readiness to stand firm in the face of adversity.

In some cases, especially in terms of multiple arrows, it may represent a strong bond with a positive influence, such a deep friendship.

An arrow nocked in a drawn bow may represent a readiness for action, or a movement not yet begun but committed to.

A tattoo of a broken arrow might mean that a person no longer feels in conflict. It may also serve as a memorial for a friend, family member or protector who is no longer around.

Images surrounding the arrow, or incorporated as part of the design may also alter the meaning, adding subtleties or personal connections. Likewise the design of the arrowhead may be influenced by personal meaning.

For example, an arrow with a curved or stylized shaft might symbolize a way forward that is not straight and direct. A broken shaft might also represent a movement forward that has been blocked, or halted for some reason.


Where Do Green Arrow Tattoos Usually Go?

Forearms are by far the most common location for Green Arrow tattoos. This area makes it an easily visible reminder of convictions, as well as being an excellent location for a long, thin image, as arrows usually are.

Sometimes the upper arm is also used, or the shoulder.

For miniature versions, the green arrow tattoo is sometimes placed on the ankle or foot, perhaps to symbolize walking forward.

Miniature versions have also been placed on the collarbone and the center of the back, as a personal affirmation, though this is a less common choice.

Another uncommon choice is the hand, sometimes even an arrow along one finger.

In very rare cases, the arrow might be placed on the side.


Style and Characteristics of Green Arrow Tattoos:

Aside from the common element of the color, there’s a number of ways this tattoo can be done.

– For those who are Green Arrow fans, the most common image is an arrowhead which also looks like a very stylized ‘G’.

– Another common image for comic book fans is a green arrowhead serving as a background for the main character of the series, often depicted in his uniform with his bow.

– Green arrows can be depicted as either the arrowhead alone, or as the full arrow in flight.

– Some arrows are depicted as modern arrows, complete with modern hunting points, while others are depicted as older tribal arrows with stone, handmade points.

– Some arrows are shown before firing, in a drawn bow, a representation of a movement not started, but which one is ready for.

– Green arrows are often depicted with a banner or wind-like images around them, meant to help show the arrows movement in flight.

– More intricate designs often show the details of the fletching and arrowheads.

– It’s not uncommon for both arrows and arrowheads to be surrounded or accented by some sort of phrase, which provides personal meaning. These can be names, a title of sorts, or a simple inspirational phrase.



Whatever style of Green Arrow tattoo you prefer, and for whatever reason, adding this highly diverse and culturally popular tattoo will certainly make a statement. As to what that statement will be – with a tattoo with this diverse history and symbolism, that truly is up to you.

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