Wishbone Tattoo: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Wishbone Tattoo: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Everyone who knows what it’s like to get a tattoo knows the feeling of being overwhelmed when it comes to choices.

This is going to be a design that lives on your skin permanently, and you want to get it right the first time! One of the most popular tattoo designs right now is the wishbone tattoo and it makes sense!

A wishbone tattoo is unusual, unique and there is so much more to the meaning than the wish you make when you snap a turkey bone over a Thanksgiving dinner.


That’s right: we’re talking about the bone in between the neck and breast of a bird. The belief is that if two people who snap the wishbone and whoever has the longer side of the bone gets the wish that will come true.

It’s a long held belief and it’s something that has been done for generations, and the idea of wishes coming true is the reason people choose wishbone tattoos.


These are often smaller tattoos found on the wrist, the fingers and in between the shoulder blades. It doesn’t really matter where you choose it to go, though, it’s totally a personal preference!

The Meaning Behind It

The wishbone game has been a fun one to play at family dinners, but there was once a time it wasn’t a game to those playing it.

Way back in Ancient Italy (here comes a history tidbit!), the Etruscan people were the ones who started the idea of the wishbone game.

Birds were always a symbol of fortune, and the wishbone game used to be a way to look into the future. Magic used to be a thing, and it’s why we still make wishes on dead bird carcasses today – magic!


The Etruscans believed that the birds could tell them things they wanted to know, and they would save the furcula (wishbone) from the creature once it was killed for a meal.

The wishbone allows a bird to take flight, and so they believed that the bone held power. Of course, the Etruscans didn’t break the bone in half with their wishes as we do.

They kept it to dry it out, and then rubbed their hands over the bone in the same way Aladdin did with the magic lamp. They would make a wish to benefit all Etruscans while they stroked the wishbone.

When the Romans discovered the furcula, they would break it in half because of the lack of birds in their area.

Breaking it in half and giving it to different people would – they believed – weaken its effects, and yet both people would have a piece of the magical bone.

After the Romans came the British and once the British knew of the wishbone, they turned it into something totally different.


They made the wishbone a game; it used to be thought the wishbone would predict the next to be married.

They would take the wishbone and place it on their nose, and they had to make a wish before it fell to the ground. In some cases, the bone falling would mean that the loser gets a second chance to wish.

Once they did, the wishbone would be broken in half and if they guessed which hand the longer piece was hidden in, the loser would be the predicted person to marry.

This was the idea that permeated through the colonies until the U.S pilgrims figured out that this would be a game of excellent fortune!

So, why tattoos? Why choose wishbone tattoos for your next one?

Wishbone Tattoo Designs

The magical powers of the wishbone mean different things to different people and the wishbone makes people consider their deepest desires.

If you are a fan of good luck charms, then the wishbone tattoo should be one that you consider for your next inking session.

It’s a sign of good fortune, good hope, and it allows the wearer to have wishful thinking.


There are so many ways that you can wear a tattoo like this, too, and you can show it off in whichever part of the body you are most comfortable having it.

Some of the most popular tattoo designs include the following below:

Broken Wishbone

If you want a fun way to show off your wishbone tattoo, why not choose a broken one?

A broken one symbolizes a wish already made and if you want to add some life to the tattoo design of choice, but you don’t want it to be completely broken, why not have a tattoo with a crack through it? 

The placement of the tattoo all depends on you, and it can fit in very well with any other tattoo you might have.


It can be a bigger graphic or a smaller one and you can choose to go with a black tattoo or you can add a little color. This will make it a flashier piece, too!

Some people choose to add it into a collection of smaller tattoos, and it works beautifully on the thumb, or inside the wrist. Remember, unless you want to pay for expensive laser removal, you will be wearing this one forever.

The Wishful Hands

Another great design idea is those who already have a wishbone idea in mind, but want to expand on it. The wishful hands involve a piece with a pair of hands with the wishbone.

It’s connected to the tale of breaking the bone in half and this shows this off on your body. You can either hand the bone broken between a pair of hands, or ready to go.


It can also be ready to grab and snap, and you don’t have to show which hand wins, either! 

No matter what you choose for your tattoo, it has to match what you want. Sift through the hundreds of ideas for the furcula and get yourself a fantastic tattoo artist to work on it with you.

When you get this right, it’s going to end up a beautiful tattoo on your body – for life!


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