Swords are a popular body art choice for both men and women, as their meaning can be very personalized.
At its most basic, a sword is a power symbol. It can represent the nobility of Knighthood. It can show strength, courage, or defense.
It can be a symbol of authority, like the sword which gave King Arthur his right to rule.
There are sword types from around the world, so one could even choose a sword that hints at their family history. Let’ take a look at 29 different sword designs to give you an example of the versatility of this powerful symbol.
The sword of the Highlanders of Scotland, the Claymore was traditionally 4 and a half feet long and the Scots wore it with distinction.
As body art, the Claymore is a strong choice, as these massive blades are a symbol unstoppable prowess and power.
It can also be a nod to your heritage, should you have Scottish roots that you’d like to display for all of the world to see.
Broken Sword Tattoo
A sword doesn’t always have to be a sign of aggression, as demonstrated by the symbolism of a broken sword.
A broken sword might be interpreted as a symbol of peace or mercy.
Depending on what it is displayed with, it could symbolize the emotional violence which has been wreaked upon the wearer or alternately, the ‘failure to break’ in the face of an oppression which would ‘cut’ most.
Sword with Wings Tattoo
A sword with wings can mean a number of things. It can represent that one has always had a guardian angel.
Alternately, one could put it in a circle with the name of one’s child, to represent that the wearer will always be that angel.
The sword with wings can also mean that one has the ability to rise above danger, but always remains vigilant should the need arise.
Medieval Sword Tattoo
Medieval sword designs are fun and quite versatile. In the middle-ages, swords were owned by nobility, knights, and soldiers, and aside from representing power, they also represent authority like the sword in the stone.
One could also make body art of a sword being forged, with their name glowing hot on the blade, to represent how life has made them strong.
The mystical Tarot also has an entire suit of medieval sword depictions, already ripe with tradition and mystery.
Minimalist Sword Tattoo
Minimalism is a good way to incorporate body art that captures the essence of the symbol, without requiring a lot of space or unwanted ‘flash’.
With a minimalist sword tattoo as body art, a person might be saying that they are powerful but they do not need to ‘speak loudly’ to do so.
Some people like a minimalist sword tattoo as a wearable talisman, to impart the strength of defense and aggression when needed.
Celtic Sword Tattoo
A Celtic sword tattoo can be a nod to one’s Irish heritage or simply worn on the skin as a symbol of power.
In Celtic mythology, the sword was associated with Nuada, the first king of Tuatha De Danaan, and it was one of the 4 great treasures of Celtic myth (the Sword, the Stone, the Spear, and the Cauldron).
It is a symbol of power and intellect and as Nuada has mystic associations with water, a Celtic sword is also a good symbol for those who love the lakes or the seas.
Katana Sword Tattoo
To the Samurai warriors of Japan, the Katana was representative of their souls.
Made through repeated folding and beating in a forge to become the extension of the warriors will, a katana can represent a strong will that has been repeatedly tested and perfected in the fires of life.
It is very much a warrior symbol, denoting precision and violence under perfect control.
Sword in the Stone Tattoo
The sword in the stone is a symbol that everyone knows from the famous Arthurian legends we heard in childhood.
As body art, it can represent a number of things, such as authority, power that can only be drawn by oneself, or even that one is waiting for the right person to come into their life who will be the perfect fit.
In Christian symbolism, the sword symbolized Justice and the Stone was faith, with Arthur’s removal representing his agreement to bring the world justice in the name of Heaven.
Sword and Dragon Tattoo
In many myths, only a certain sword could slay the dragon, and a sword and dragon tattoo can represent that.
It might indicate that the wearer is a problem solver or the only one who can face any evils that the world puts before them. Placed with a face, it might represent that one fought hard to win the maiden fair.
It is a symbol of overcoming powerful adversity, though reverted one could be the dragon with a broken sword that could not stop them!
3 Swords Tattoo
The most common 3 swords design is the famous one from the Tarot, symbolizing betrayal and pain from a loved one, but 3 is also a number of power, so an arrangement of 3 swords on their own can mean a number of things.
It’s a triad, a number of the Trinity, and swords crossed together might also represent unity.
Three swords is also believed by many to symbolize wisdom, understanding, and harmony.
Sword and Shield Tattoo
Body art of a sword and shield is another popular choice.
It can represent the virtues of knighthood or simply the wearer’s intent to attack and defend those who are important to them.
Added with a family crest, it can represent a famous ancestral heritage as well.
Sword and Crown Tattoo
A tattoo of a sword and crown is a powerful symbol of dominance, as it is representative of the brute power and force of will that is required for a warrior to become the king.
While viewers of a sword and crown will notice the beauty of the crown, the sword is always there to remind them of the spirit which has earned it.
This is a good tattoo for one who has fiercely worked for everything which they have achieved.
The Rapier is a sword for artists and rogues! It can be symbolic of a perfect, razor focus, or representative of the intellect and wit possessed by its wearer that has been used in the deadly dance of life.
A rapier might also be worn as a symbol of quickness of thought or thinking on one’s toes.
It is also the sword of the Musketeers, so it may be seen represent courage, honor, and brotherhood.
Energy Sword Tattoo
An Energy sword tattoo can represent overwhelming willpower, as it cuts not by metal but by energy blazing from the heart or the mind.
For some, it can represent the power of faith. The color of the energy can be important as well, depicting it’s source and purpose.
Knight Sword Tattoo
A Knight’s sword is a symbol of honor, courage, and power.
If it blackened, it might indicate a dark honor, or if appears clean and shiny than it might be the singlemindedness of one with great faith who will always keep their word.
A knighthood was title that could not be inherited, but had to be won by a person chosen for their singular character.
It is also a powerful symbol to wear for one who is a sworn defender of the weak.
Skull and Sword Tattoo
A sword and a skull can mean a number of things, such as a grim reminder that the wearer is not one to hesitate to defend themselves or their beliefs.
It can represent a dark personality, in some cases, or it might display that the wearer always emerges triumphant and that those who wish to challenge them had best beware.
Used with a name, it could be a memorial tattoo to honor a soldier or another type of warrior who fought proudly and is remembered in the form of a sword towering over one of their fallen foes.
Sword of Truth Tattoo
As a body art choice, the sword of truth is a symbol of one who believes that truth is above all things and must be both acknowledged and honored.
One who wears this might be showing that they value the reality of things above all else and show disdain for falsehoods of any kind.
This is a symbol of one who will never tolerate lies and who is always true to themselves and others.
Sword Tattoo on the Arm
Where a tattoo is placed has a lot of importance, and a sword tattooed on the arm can be a visual representation or even a warning of the wearer’s warrior power.
A sword represents many things, but predominantly it is aggression and raw power, and this is especially true when placed on the dominant arm of one who is willing to fight for what they believe in.
Vikings Sword Tattoo
Vikings valued wealth, power, and for them death was not to be feared, but to be embraced. They were also strong believers in fate.
A Viking sword can represent wealth and might and often the hilts have elaborate designs which reflect this.
It is a good symbol for an honorable but savage soul, who intends to earn their fame, wealth, and power through sheer will and fearless ferocity.
Irish Sword Tattoo
An Irish sword is indicative of both power and cleverness. In the myths, many creatures were defeated by Irish swords, but many more were defeated by the minds of the one’s who wielded them.
This is also a good symbol for those who have Irish heritage and possess that type of character with a good sense of humor but a non-nonsense attitude to those who haven’t earned their respect.
Sword Sleeve Tattoo
While a sword is the ultimate symbol for a warrior, taking the time to compose and to wear a sleeve is a hallmark for the truly dedicated.
These are great tattoos for soldiers and for other warrior souls that can demonstrate in the knotwork and complicated designs of this body art that they are courageous, powerful, and complex.
Ulfberht Sword Tattoo
The Ulfberht swords were often carried by the ‘best of the best’ of Vikings, as these blades were among the best that one could own.
Prized for their flexibility, lightness, and sheer cutting power, these swords might symbolize one who has fought hard to get to the top.
The blade is a perfect blend of form and function, so it’s a good representative of a powerful, balanced soul, and it also is a strong symbol of success and power.
Traditional Sword Tattoo
A traditional sword is a symbol of honor, courage, and strength, and it’s a great choice for body art because it can be completely customized to the wearer.
A name on the sword, for instance, might indicate that one is that person’s protector. A family crest might be ‘engraved’ on that sword. Is it shiny or has it seen battle?
Whatever the décor, the message is with a sword is always clear… it’s power.
Sword Tattoo on the Back
They say that the most dangerous people are the ones who never feel the need to ‘show off’ that they are powerful.
A sword on the back is a way to acknowledge a warrior spirit that does not feel the need to advertise. It may also be seen as a symbol of protection – this sword has got its owner’s back.
With the name of a friend on it, it can be a symbol of a strong friendship, or could have military connotations to honor a person who has saved the owner’s life or served a term with them.
Sword and Rose Tattoo
A tattoo of a sword and a rose has a lot of interesting meanings.
First off, it can represent the reality of life, that it can be both unforgiving and yet perfectly beautiful.
It is sometimes chosen by lovers, who wish to represent their love without resorting to names on their body art.
The rose represents love and life, while the sword can be destruction or simply stark, unyielding honor and defense.
Samurai Sword Tattoo
The Samurai sword is a symbol of stout honor and courage.
Samurai warriors felt that their swords were a part of their souls and learned to wield them with precision.
It is a warrior symbol that doesn’t rely on brute force, but rather on harmony and grace delivered with deadly focus.
Small Sword Tattoo
A sword doesn’t have to be large to speak volumes. A small sword indicates a fierceness of spirit and some also get this tattoo as a talisman against danger.
Further, a hidden sword may also be a symbol of the hidden strength and power of the owner. Once it’s seen, people don’t forget the message that comes with it.
Symbolically, it’s a way to say ‘beware… I bite.’
Forearm Sword Rattoo
When a tattoo is displayed on the forearm, it is not easily hidden, and this makes the message more powerful.
With a sword, it is a way of saying that the owner is fierce and not to be trifled with. It shows strength and the willingness to fight for one’s beliefs.
Black Sword Tattoo
A black sword is often used in body art to symbolize that the owner is honorable, but that they have seen the darker things in life.
Some people choose this symbol to show that they will do the right thing, even when it hurts.
Other’s might wear a black sword as a sign of mourning a fallen warrior, with the blade shown sticking in the ground to represent where the person fell.
Sword Tattoos FAQ
What is the Meaning of Sword Tattoo?
The sword is a symbol of naked power, but it may also represent things such as honor, courage, or the focus of will.
For some it is viewed as phallic, with the sheath representing the Yonic energy of the women, but this is a symbol that is definitely not limited to a specific gender.It is the ultimate representation of fierceness of spirit and the willingness to fight.
How much would a Sword tattoo cost?
As far as a base cost, rates vary, but on average you should expect between $120 to $150 per hour implementing the design that you have selected.
It’s going to boil down to the amount of detail involved, the size of the tattoo, and on the artist whom you select.Check the portfolios of the artists that you are considering and when you’ve found one with pictures of work that you like, let them know exactly what you have in mind, and they should be able to give you a realistic estimation of the costs.