Though tattoos are very modern now, they have been around for ages. Also, there are certain old symbols that will never be obsolete. For example, long past are the times when anchor tattoos were characteristic to sailors or pirates. Now the anchor is one of the most famous tattoo symbols.
What are the meanings of anchor tattoos for men?
Contrary to popular belief, the meanings of these tattoos aren’t only related to one’s love for the sea and tattoo fans know this best. As a matter of fact, the meanings for most of these kinds of tattoos are way deeper than the sea or skin level.
They are linked with balance and strength even in stormy times of life. That can apply to nearly everyone who chooses an anchor tattoo. However, there still are particularities that can make a difference.
Family men associate them with the stability in their lives and somehow with the wives or children that are like an anchor for them, as they share the most solid bond. Men in love can choose the anchor as it means that they are willing to settle down and be committed to the women they love. For some men, the anchor can have nothing to do with certain individuals, but can be just a reminder of a sum of experiences that led to a balanced life.
Though one might think that the anchor is in high demand mostly to men who already have a lot of life experience, young men might get them as reminders of rough teenage years, which can be related to bullying or personal distress. After all, age is not always relevant when it comes to life struggles.
Why are they popular amongst men?
Anchor tattoos for men are very popular because they can carry a lot of different meanings and can represent whatever the man wants them to. Also, they are very manly symbols that helps them reconnect with their roots.
Anchors are simple symbols so they are great to initiate in the art of tattooing. Small ones can be done quickly and efficiently. In this way, the new owner can get a taste of the tattooing experience in a convenient way.
Still, a good tattoo artist can create a stylish design that will constitute a real masterpiece that can adorn the man’s body for many years to come. They can cover the whole back or large body areas and be just a design element of a big picture that tells a story.
What do they represent?
Anchor tattoos for men usually represent a form of stability, regardless whether this stability refers to a certain person or to a calmer stage in life. Even a very simple design can signify a lot to the owner, so we shouldn’t mistake the lack of complexity for the lack of meaning.
There are fancy anchor tattoos that incorporate style and fashion within the body art as well, while others stick to the basic one that has been used by seafarers as well. In the end, it is a matter of personal choice as the owner always knows best what his anchor represents.
Check out the best anchor tattoos for men
Full of texture and depth, this image of an anchor rests perfectly on the inner arm. A rope is attached to its ring, which gracefully wraps around the shank down to the tip, while bold capital letters are sitting on either side.
One of the bubbliest, colorful, and attractive anchor tattoos idea. The image of a lustrous blue anchor with a wooden stock is drawn on the foot, surrounded with waves of stars and shiny pearls in pink, red, and white tones.
Lovely and elegant are words that can only depict this striking anchor picture. The anchor itself shows intricate details around the stock and crown, enhanced with a bright red rose with blooming petals, greyish-white toned leaves, and elegant yellow accents.
A classic anchor tattoo design with a vintage and unparalleled rustic feel. The anchor slants on the arm with a chain starting off from the ring and draped on its shank, then attached to a small watch. Red roses and thick leaves embellish the lovely picture.
A huge anchor carved in fine wood is glowing as it st set at the side of the body, carried around by two birds. Far from ordinary, the other has horns while the one on top has a halo and are at a game of tug of war.
An elegantly curved thick-shanked anchor with a pointy crown, wooden stock, and rope along its ring are each carefully crafted down to the last detail. A few budding red roses and one in full bloom, as well the the thorny vines crawling around produce a remarkable effect.
Nestled on the upper left area of the chest near the shoulder is a strong and sturdy anchor tattoo. Roses and thick leaves possessing texture and many veins gently cradle it and cling to the anchor’s exquisite form from ring to the tip of its bill.
This classic and traditional tattoo exhibits a wooden anchor that has been carved to perfection, with the stock lighter and edgy while the shank is more rounded and shapely. Thick braided ropes form loops and knots around the ring going down to the crown ending in small tassles.
One of the most creative anchor tattoo ideas comprised of a cute outline of an anchor that’s embellished with red lines, fill, spikes, a pointed bill, and fun heart. The shank has grey and white tones while the stock is brown and wooden with a queer eye.
An astounding image featuring the breathtaking beauty of lovely roses and a wreath surrounding the form of an intricately detailed anchor from the ring to its crown and bills. The tattoo comes in black and white and gives off brilliant elegance like no other.
More anchor tattoos for men on the next page…
Top 43 Simple Anchor Tattoo Ideas [2021 Inspiration Guide]
Since the first of his kind took to water, the seafarer and his roving mythology have fascinated sailor and landlubber alike.
Life on the high seas was unforgiving, with death among the fathoms always a storm or fatal accident away, but the intoxicating freedom and exhilarating adventure were well worth the danger.
Such a life was worth commemorating in ink, and the sailor’s tattoo catalogue persists to this day.
The anchor is perhaps the most recognizable of the seafarer’s insignias, and likewise the most popular. Simple enough in shape, the anchor carries a litany of meaning and symbolism, historically regarded as a signifier that one has made his first crossing over the Atlantic. Naval officers and newcomers alike proudly bore the anchor tattoo not only as a mark of their first Atlantic passage, but right of passage as well. The anchor is a mark of success over a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, that one’s troubles were ultimately not enough to drag them down.
Your anchor tattoo needn’t be elaborate, but a simple testament of what you’ve endured and triumphed over. You may not be a man of the sea, but you are a man of the world, a risk-taker with a soul as deep as the waters so many have crossed for centuries. Such a life deserves a mark of remembrance, so why not start with the oldest badge of honor of all?
1. American traditional anchor tattoos
Check out the common characteristics of American traditional style tattoo, the old school themes central to anchor tattoo expression. There’s a limited color palette comprising black, green, red and yellow with comparatively little shading and negative space. The keys to American traditional are the intersection of predominantly flat color fills separated by thick, yet still sharp black lines needle work. The tattoos are compact, well ordered, and look extremely fresh on the skin.
2. Small anchor tattoos
Anchors are a great motif for use in small, unobtrusive tattoos. Their natural shape is interesting yet solid which works well for ink that may otherwise be swallowed up by bare flesh or other body art. As can be seen in the examples above small anchors can be dropped anywhere, including the face, neck, and head.
3. Innovative anchor tattoos
Anchors are tremendous for your funkier tattoo effects as well, they don’t have to be confined to simple, efficient black line boredom. In the examples above there are fantastic concepts, such as continuous line, minimalist, basic geometric tattoos, and dotwork/linework hybrid technical application.
Artists are often able to take the stereotypical anchor approach and flip the execution to reflect more modern, exciting methods of illustration,This featured image above mixes clean line elements, painstaking dotwork, and well balanced geometric fundamentals to fashion a brilliantly effective inner forearm piece.
4. Black ink anchor tattoos
I understand it can be hard to get excited about simple black work tattoos. But they underpin this kind of application. This selection shows variety and versatility in the black lines – they run the gamut from thick, solid expression down to fine and delicate line work.
The other thing is, you can test an artist’s skill by getting black ink, as it’s hard to make look amazing and easy to wreck. The best practitioners often achieve the former, and never the latter.
5. Traditional black and gray shaded anchors
There’s superb variety in these traditional black and gray tattoos. Their size and effects are all different, yet retain the simplicity in design which helps the artists flex their muscles in technical application and style. These tattoos feature great attention to detail, some of the gray scale shading and dotwork in particular is precis, time consuming expression.
I also like some of the more bold uses of fine/thick black lines internally, while outlines, borders, and the irrepressible hunks of rope build interesting tattoos by delivering clever changes in shape, scale, and focus.
6. Hand and finger anchor tattoos
There’s plenty of individuality in each of these small, hand and finger tattoo designs. There’s scope for different styles and tiny flourishes of technical application such as dot work, associated single lines and shading. Interestingly, these examples are all small. Some anchors can be larger, more complex pieces covering the whole hand, designed to help retain color and shape over a longer period.
Hand tattoos are a tricky proposition to keep color and definition over a long period. Make sure to talk to your artist about touch ups, future pricing, and make sure to take intensive care of your art after the tattoo process and well into the future to avoid ink drop outs and fading.
Anchor tattoo FAQs
What is the meaning of an Anchor tattoo?
Traditionally, anchor tattoos were crafted almost exclusively for sailors as a ready means of identifying each other and to reference the brotherhood of the ocean. They also represented stability, believed to prevent a sailor from floating away from the ship if he fell overboard.
At one time in the late 19th century, almost 90% of US Navy had maritime tattoos as symbols of good luck. Members of the US Navy would get anchor tattoos to commemorate crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
With the rise in popularity of general body art, and American traditional and neo traditional styles as throwbacks to tattoo history and culture, the anchor now has a variety of different meanings but the theme of stability continues.
Anchor symbolism has expanded to include themes of hope, composure, and calm, with an emphasis on being well grounded, solid, and dependable. They remain favored by sailors, Navy, and Coastguard personnel, as symbols of family, and a life spent at sea.
Are anchor tattoos bad luck?
Quite the contrary, anchors are good luck tattoo symbols that help support and strengthen the psyche of sailors. Legendary tattooist ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins described the anchor as “the most secure object in a sailor’s life, making it the perfect representation of stability.”
If you liked these Anchor tattoos, check out more of our nautical collections by clicking the links below:
50 Anchor Tattoos for Men – A Sea of Masculine Ideas
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Top 75 Best Sailor Tattoos for Men -Classical Nautical Designs
100 Nautical Tattoos for Men – Sick Seafaring Designs
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Do you know what does anchor tattoos mean? There meaning is very simple yet very deep. Anchors are used to stopping a ship at one point against the strong tides and current of the ocean. Anchor tattoos thus represent strength, stability, and hope.
Anchor tattoos are not just popular among sailors and navy men but it has stepped out and became one of the most popular tattoo designs in the world.
Here are 50 meaningful black anchor tattoos that will suit both men and women –
Simple Anchor Compass Tattoos
1. The Alignment of black anchor tattoo can also give a lot of suggestion and hints. For example, this anchor tattoo on inner bicep of this guy is aligned downward suggesting that it could not handle the immense biceps of him.
2. As I told that Anchor tattoo represents hope. If you try an anchor and rope tattoos design then it would represent that you believe your luck is in your own hand.
3. 3D anchor tattoo might look incomplete alone so add other simple designs to it such as compass tattoo.
4. Many tattoo artists would agree with me that foot is the best place to get an anchor tattoo. They represent steadiness. So anchor foot tattoos would represent that you have more faith in your self.
5. If your foot is already occupied by another tattoo design or if you do not want to try the anchor tattoo on foot then go for anchor leg tattoos. Here is a beautiful combination of anchor and lighthouse.
queen of spades tattoo meaning
Anchor and Rose Tattoos
6. To make the meaning of their anchor tattoos more complex many people like to add other designs to it. Such as here the man added a bald eagle and dog suggesting he loves his country and his dog.
7. Anchor tattoos designs look so beautiful and cute on women. Look at this colorful anchor tattoo design and I am sure it will suit almost every lady in this world.
8. Most women opt for anchor tattoos because anchor represents strength and calmness, the two things that we expect in all relationship. So a cool idea for anchor tattoo for girls would be to try the design with the word ‘Family’ tattooed on it.
9. The meaning of anchor tattoos for guys does not change much. Most guys take anchor tattoos as a symbol of power that can hold the whole ship. So they like to try it on their biceps.
10. Married men love to have name of their family members inked on their anchor tattoos especially if they are in navy. Do you know about the types of anchor and its uses?
traditional planet tattoo
Navy Anchor Cross Tattoos
11. If your husband or boyfriend is in navy then it would be great anchor tattoo idea to try them with some flowers along with name initials of your hubby.
12. Most men who are navy prefer traditional anchor tattoo instead of modern designs. They like to add the swallow bird to their tattoo. Swallow bird has one quality – it always knows the way back home.
13. If you want to show that you have seen hard days in your life yet you are strong then try black and white anchor tattoo on your body. It will represent that the anchor been used many times and faced many difficulties.
14. While women like to try anchor tattoo on foot, men love to have an anchor tattoo on ankle. It is a unique place to try such tattoos.
15. The chest is not so commonplace to try anchor tattoo design. However, if you have seen some wonderful things in the ocean then try the anchor tattoo with them. Such as this guy tried an anchor tattoo design along with a humpback whale suggesting he witnessed the glorious moment.
Old Anchor Tattoo
16. If you want to try small and tiny anchor tattoo then try them on the neck. In such cases, the tattoos should not be larger than the ear lobes.
17. If you try anchor tattoo on thigh then add some other design to it. I would prefer compass design with them.
18. Anchor tattoo on the wrist will look even more meaningful if they are matching tattoos that you got with your sibling (brother or sister) or Significant Other (Wife or girlfriend).
19. Anchor tattoo with flowers is the most commonly suggested tattoo idea to girls. It will look amazing on the rib cage and that too in large size.
20. Anchor tattoos represent strength in a relationship. It will be amazing to have Anchor tattoos with names of your loved ones along with a beautiful quote like this.
Eagle Globe and Anchor Tattoo
21. Most men and women love to have quote with their tattoos. Anchor tattoos with quotes will look meaningful only if the quote is inspirational and gives positivity like this.
22. Another variation that could be tried with anchor tattoo is the anchor and wheel tattoos. It will suggest that you are master of your own life.
23. Anchor tattoos are also great choices for best friends. If you have a best friend the try a matching anchor tattoo with him along with name initials.
24. Here is a smart tattoo idea – Try a boat anchor tattoo where the boat is tattooed on the upper shoulder and the anchor tattoo is inked near the elbow or wrist.
25. You can also try temporary anchor tattoos. I would suggest you to try pastel color anchor tattoos or watercolour anchor tattoo like this.
Twisted Anchor Tattoo
26. A cool anchor tattoo idea would be to add a rope to your anchor but in the shape of your name initial. Such as this Man got the rope inked in the shape of ‘S’. Probably he is Superman.
27. Many artists like to modify the anchor into crossed anchor tattoos. All one has to do is make the anchor look like a cross. Here the artist made a Celtic crossed anchor tattoo.
28. Anchor tattoo can be really good memorial tattoos. Add the name and date to your anchor tattoo and it would suggest that your deceased loved one will always be in your heart.
29. The Marine Corps emblem which features an eagle globe and anchor is one of the most popular tattoo design among sailors. It would look amazing on the full back.
30. If you have kids then a wonderful family anchor tattoo idea would be to get their date of birth tattooed near the anchor suggesting that they are your two strong pillars.
Crown and Anchor Tattoo Ideas
31. A Cool female anchor tattoo idea would be to add your date of birth in roman numerals to your tattoo design. But it should not be so large in size.
32. Forearm anchor tattoo need to be medium to small in size. One modified version you can try is anchor and compass tattoo like this.
33. Girls anchor tattoos can be made more meaningful by adding the name of their loved ones who are in the navy. Also adding a compass will suggest that they hope God will always guide them to home.
34. A really cool girly anchor tattoo idea would be to make an anchor tattoo design using flower vines such as this.
35. My favorite kind of anchor tattoo is those that use creativity. Such as this anchor tattoo seems to be pierced in the forearm.
Traditional Anchor Tattoo Designs
36. I bet you will fall in love with such little anchor tattoos. They can easily be worn on fingers or even behind the ears.
37. Usually, artists do not get creative with matching anchor tattoos. Here is a unique design where the artist added heart-shaped balloons to the anchor tattoo. What does it mean? It means that the relationship won’t be a burden but a joyful experience to share.
38. One unique anchor tattoo idea would be to show a cracked earth surface in the background of anchor just like this.
39. There are many quotes that can go with your anchor tattoo design. One of my favorites is ‘Sink or Swim’.
40. You can try the old school anchor tattoo where a lot of focus was emphasized on the coloring of the tattoo design like this.
Anchor Tattoo Meaning
41. If your anchor tattoo designs start fading away then recolor it with wateroclors and bring it back to life.
42. The anchor tattoo design need not be large in size to leave an impact on viewers. Tiny and little anchor tattoos like this are also impressive.
43. Have you been a fan of Popeye the sailor man? The guy has huge anchor tattoo on both of his forearms and you can copy his style too.
44. Opt for the neo-tribal tattoo art to get pretty anchor tattoos. This guy has one on his forearm.
45. That might look painful but this is how realistic anchor tattoos are. You should try this design only if you are sure it will look good on you.
Female Anchor Tattoos
46. Flower and anchor tattoo is a cool combination but you can vary the design by choosing a different type of flowers. I would recommend to either try rose or sunflower.
47. Here is a crossed anchor tattoo that is simple and very beautiful.
48. The quote below this anchor tattoo design is one of the best I have ever come across. If you try this then please use large size font.
49. Here is another creative anchor tattoo design where the artist inked the anchor in such style that it looks carved out of the skin.
50. Most traditional anchor tattoos will also include roses, rope and a crossed shape design.
Which Anchor tattoo from the above photo gallery you liked the most?
A tattoo design as old as time are the anchor tattoos. Ever since sailors have existed, such tattoos have been quite common among them. Nowadays it carries several symbolisms and meanings but remains one of the most popular tattoo designs in the world.
It is known as a traditional type of tattoo but its shape and features have greatly changed over time. If you feel tied to the idea of doing an anchor tattoo, below you’ll find the most unique places and style that fit men.
Without further delay, let’s take a look at the top 30 unique anchor tattoos for men!
Tattoos for guys simple anchor
Looking for some anchor tattoo design ideas? Check out this gallery of the best designs we’ve ever seen!
Tattoo trends come and go, styles develop and go from niche to popular and back to niche again, but one thing remains unchanged: the relentlessly popular anchor tattoo.
Once the domain of sailors and seamen of all kinds, nowadays anchor themed ink work is a common sight on men and women of all ages and from all walks of life.
For many people, particularly for those not overly familiar with the world of tattoo art, the anchor will be the first thing to come to mind when the word ‘tattoo’ comes up.
It could be said that the anchor is something of a stereotypical tattoo – but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring or unoriginal!
Anchors fit in great with a whole range of designs and have a range of deeply symbolic meanings.
Early history of the anchor as a symbol
Not many people know that one of the earliest uses of the anchor as a symbol took place in ancient Rome.
The anchor was adopted by Christians as a symbol of their faith during a period when the Romans were attempting to eradicate Christianity.
It was something like a secret code – a seemingly innocent image used in place of the instantly recognizable (and punishable) Christian cross.
For Christians facing persecution for their faith, the anchor made for the perfect hidden symbol.
It’s easily recognizable and includes the shape of a cross, but it wasn’t officially adopted as a symbol of any religion, so it could be displayed without fear of being taken to mean Christianity.
Early Christians wore anchor jewelry and anchor tattoos as a way to make themselves recognizable to other members of the faith.
Anchors were also used to mark safe houses for those seeking refuge from prosecution on religious grounds.
Anchor tattoo meaning
In sailing, anchors are used to ‘tie’ the ship to the sea bed. This holds the ship in place and prevents it from floating away, keeping the ship and all aboard safe even during the stormiest weather.
For this reason, the anchor has always been associated with strength, stability, and safety.
Recommended: Check out our awesome compass tattoo ideas in our big guide.
Anchor themed tattoos can mean just that: stability in your life or in your beliefs, staying true to yourself and your values, staying strong and balanced even through the toughest of times.
An anchored ship won’t be carried away by the wind or the current. Just as an anchor holds down the ship to keep it safe, your anchor design can symbolize being grounded and stable.
Another meaning behind anchor art can be that of home. On a ship, the anchor would usually be dropped at the end of a journey, or at least at a safe port.
Equally, your anchor tattoo can symbolize a place or a person whom you associate with safety and to whom you always want to come back.
The anchor is carried on the ship at all times and dropped only when the ship stops. For a tattoo, this can introduce the meaning of adaptability: you’re traveling through life and finding safety and comfort in yourself and those around you no matter where you are.
When the anchor is raised, that means the ship is off on a new journey, or continuing a long voyage.
For many people, the idea of a ‘new journey’ brings excitement and curiosity for what lies ahead. Your anchor imagery could symbolize being open to the future and everything it might bring.
Anchors are immensely heavy and once dropped into the sea, they take a tremendous amount of strength and effort to pull back up. Their purpose is to weigh down the ship to prevent it from moving.
Hence, a cracked or broken anchor tattoo can be a symbol of moving forward and not letting your past weigh you down.
Anchor tattoos in the military
Anchors feature heavily in the insignia of naval branches of many of the world’s militaries.
An anchor with rope is a key element in the U.S. Navy’s designs and insignia and has been adapted from the symbols used by the (British) Royal Navy.
In the U.S. Navy, in addition to the general use of the anchor as military insignia, sailors get a single anchor inked after successfully crossing and returning from the Atlantic Ocean.
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Meanwhile, sailors who have two crossed anchors on their hand – between the thumb and index finger – are boatswain’s mates.
Boatswain’s mates are the crew members who maintain the ship’s deck and take care of smaller boat operations.
Popular anchor tattoo designs
For such a simple shape, the anchor has an astounding amount of symbolic meanings – and makes for a surprisingly versatile tattoo.
Popular design ideas include:
- Anchor with a piece of rope or chain – in sailing and in the military, an anchor with rope wrapped around it is known as a ‘fouled anchor’. This is because once the anchor becomes tangled up in rope, it becomes extremely difficult to raise from the sea. The rope can be added to an anchor design for a further layer of meaning, or it could just serve an aesthetic purpose – the addition of the rope makes for a more complex design.
- Geometric anchor tattoo – geometric tattoos are all the rage lately, and the anchor isa perfect subject for this style. Already completely symmetrical and composed mostly of straight lines, it fits in great with the overall look of geometric tattoos.
- 3D anchor – whether on its own or wrapped in rope, an anchor can make a perfect 3D tattoo. It’s not an overly complex object to represent in 3D, but nonetheless looks impressive when done well.
- Watercolor – watercolor ‘splashes’ can make an awesome background to any symbol, but they suit an anchor particularly well thanks to the obvious connection with water. You don’t have to limit yourself to the standard blues and greens of the sea, either – there are plenty of awesome-looking watercolor anchor tattoos out there with a whole range of vivid colors.
- Matching anchors – many couples choose anchors for their matching tattoos, and it’s easy to see why. The meaning of stability and strength, as well as that of home and safety, can easily be applied to another person or a relationship.
- Cracked anchor – a cracked anchor, as described above, is often used in tattoo designs to symbolize breaking free, moving forward, and not letting your past hold you down.
Anchors and other symbols
Like many objects with strong or complex symbolic meanings, anchors are often combined in tattoo designs with other symbols.
This is often done to add a further layer of meaning to the tattoo or to clarify what the main symbol means to the person in the context of the tattoo.
For instance, consider the following combinations:
- Anchor with the infinity symbol tattoo – The infinity symbol, a mathematical sign meaning eternity or endlessness, is often featured together with the anchor. The anchor is usually worked into the line of the symbol – which takes the shape of the number 8 on its side.
- Heart and anchor – the perfect combination to express the idea of finding strength and stability in love, or in the presence of a loved one. In this combination, the two symbols can either appear separately as part of a unified design, or the shape of the heart can be worked into the shape of the anchor. Another popular choice is to a heart-shaped piece of rope or chain to an anchor design. These kinds of tattoos often feature the name of a loved one, commonly written on a ribbon – as in the traditional tattoo style.
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- Anchor with a compasstattoo – since both of these elements have nautical ties, they make for a cohesive and great-looking design. A compass symbolizes the ability to always find your way home, head in the right direction, or simply know where you are.
- Anchor with a star tattoo – like a compass, in nautical symbolism the star means always being able to find your way, even in darkness. This is because traditionally, before the development of appropriate technology, sailors used to navigate at night by looking at the positions of stars. Of particular symbolic importance to sailors is the nautical star – a five-pointed star, with each arm half light, half dark, resembling a compass rose.
- Anchor with a rose tattoo – in addition to looking amazing as tattoos, roses have a whole range of cultural and symbolic meanings. Among other things, roses can symbolize stability (like the anchor), secrecy, balance, wisdom, and friendship. Nowadays, red roses in particular are associated with love and romance and white roses with purity and innocence.
- Anchor with ‘hold fast’ quote tattoo – a popular choice particularly for men’s anchor tattoos, this is a reference to the classic sailor knuckle tattoo. Sailors would get a ‘hold fast’ tattoo on their fingers in hopes that it will bring them luck when gripping rigging. ‘Holding fast’ in this context means having the strength not to let go of the rope used to control the sail. As part of a contemporary tattoo, these words can be understood to symbolically underline the anchor’s meaning of staying true to yourself or to others and/or staying strong and stable no matter what.
These are just some ideas on combining an anchor with other elements to form a more complex tattoo design.
Ultimately, your tattoo should express a meaning that is personal and important to you – so don’t be afraid to experiment with your ideas!
Celebrities with anchor themed ink work
Although traditionally a masculine choice, in contemporary culture the popularity of anchor tattoos for girls and women has increased to the point where it’s a completely unisex choice.
Plenty of celebrities chose anchors for their tattoos, too, and many of them women. Examples include:
- Amy Winehouse – Amy had an all-black outline of an anchor on her stomach, with the words ‘Hello Sailor’
- Margot Robbie – Margot has a tiny anchor on the inside of her left ankle.
- Hilary Duff – Like Margot Robbie, Hilary Duff has a small one on her ankle.
- Kesha – Kesha’s tattoo, also tiny and is on her right wrist.
- Kate Moss – Kate has a black anchor tattoo on her right forearm.
- Kelly Osbourne – Kelly has a colorful anchor and rope design on her left forearm.
- Zoë Kravitz – Zoë’s tattoo is a minimalistic design composed only of thin lines. It’s located on her left arm.
- Miley Cyrus – Miley’s tattoo takes the form of an all-black outline on her right wrist.
Anchor tattoo placements
As with most designs, the complexity and size of the tattoo will largely determine the suitable placements.
Big designs will work best on areas on the body where there is a large enough space, without too much of a curve, where the tattoo will fit without forcing the lines to run too close to each other.
Intricate designs done on a small space may look good initially, but most likely won’t age well and will require regular touch-ups.
Areas best suitable for large tattoos include the back, chest, stomach, hip, and thigh. Big tattoos can also work well as sleeves, though in this case careful planning will need to be involved to make sure the curve of the arm doesn’t distort the shapes.
Medium design placements include all of the above plus the calf, arm/forearm, neck, and the classic anchor tattoo location: the shoulder.
One of the advantages of choosing an anchor symbol for your tattoo is that it can be scaled down to the smallest of sizes. Even small enough to fit on your knuckle or earlobe, the anchor will keep its shape if tattooed in a minimalistic style.
Many people choose their ankle or foot for a small anchor tattoo – presumably to underline the meaning of being stable and grounded.
Anchor designs have a rich history, deep symbolism, and a firm place among the classics of tattoo art. Despite being a common choice and a kind of tattoo stereotype, they’re highly versatile and easy to personalize – an anchor design can still be unique, and a great choice for a tattoo of any size.
Whether you’re looking for a classic tattoo or you’re planning on putting a new spin on a traditional design, an anchor tattoo could be perfect for you.
Anchor tattoos are growing in popularity, particularly among sailors of the early 1900s when crossing the Atlantic ocean for the new world became more popular and frequent. Nowadays, anchor tattoo is a popular choice for everyone, especially the anchor variations and combinations with the other tattoos. Still, what is the meaning of the anchor tattoo, and why so many people go after it?
Surprisingly, anchor tattoo is decorated with many deep meanings, some that can probably give you the strength to change your life. In this article, we’re going to discuss those meanings and look into the most popular anchor tattoo designs.
Make sure to check out our list if you’re looking for an anchor tattoo inspiration. We featured many designs that can come in handy for you.
The anchor is made out of metal and consists of a device that is connected to a cable or a rope. It’s used to connect a vessel to the seafloor which prevents the ship from drifting or moving further as a result of the sea current or the wind. It originates from the Latin word ancora, which additionally origins from the Greek word ankura. There are two types of anchors – temporary and permanent.
What Is The Origin Of The Anchor Tattoo?
Anchor tattoos are as old as time. Although the modern anchors differ compared to the original ones, anchors have been there for thousands of years. The anchor tattoos were used during the ancient Roman times and popularized when Christianity started taking over.
A lot of people who were being persecuted used a symbol similar to today’s anchor and cross to mark their body with it. As said earlier, the Christian cross and the sailing anchor look remarkably similar and come in similar sizes. That said, a popular belief has it that the first anchors were similar to the symbol of Christianity.
The ancient Christian faith was also believed to be represented with an anchor, that was tattooed on the body of those who were persecuted.
The anchor as we know it today, became popular in the tattoos during the 18th century, naturally by the sailors who traveled and explored, back then quite unknown the world. The sailors believed that the anchor tattoo will give them spiritual balance and stability, the same as the real anchor secures the boat in the harbor.
The waters can get turbulent, stormy, and changing, which can be scary and often traumatizing if a storm threatens to take your life away. That’s why sailors tattooed the anchors, to ensure that there’ll be the luck and fortune of stability and balance as they travel.
Some sailors used to etch a North Star motif to secure their luck when traveling. The north star is often used to help with orientation and navigation, so being tattooed across or inside the anchor offered sailors a hope that they’ll sail safely home. These motifs offered more hope when a sailor would be lost through the roaming waters.
Still, the anchor tattoo wasn’t always a sign of something good, but memorable, however. When a ship would break and a sailor would be lost or dead in the waters, the tattoo of an anchor was used to mark the resting place and the sailor’s final grave. Other sailors referred to the anchor tattoos to commemorate the lost comrades.
Anchor Tattoo Meaning
We looked at the origin of anchor tattoos and why they were used, which gave us a basic insight into the meaning behind this sailor-protecting symbol. Below, we’ll look into the other meanings of the anchor tattoo, and how by tattooing the anchor, you can unleash your true traits through the tattoo art.
Anchors have a strong connection to loyalty be it in friendship, business, or love life. Anchors that rest at the sea floors create stability in relationships, family, marriage, and lifelong friendship, keeping the bonds you create in life strong and reliable.
If you want to tattoo an anchor on your shoulder, arm, back, or some other body part, it will be a great manifestation of loyalty and dedication in families and relationships.
Dedication for doing what’s right and the greater do is important to people who have an anchor tattooed on them, according to the anchor’s symbolism for justice and everything right. Those who have anchor tattoos are always ready to help their friend in trouble and do everything in power for justice and righteousness to be satisfied.
Sailors used to face a great variety of challenges on their journeys, and they usually overcame those challenges by doing what was right, with the least possible consequences and sacrifices. It shows the dedication to persevere and last despite what’s thrown on them.
It took a lot of honor for the sailors to cross the ocean and overcome the angry waves of the ocean while discovering and traveling to another half of the world. People who make a tattoo of an anchor coupled with additional patterns and symbols want to highlight their sense of honor.
Such people will never give up on their friends or snitch them, hurt those who are weaker than them or betray those who they love. Given that anchor has a rich history in terms of symbolism, it is used by warriors in the battles to symbolize honor shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Regardless of all the meanings behind the anchor tattoo, probably the strongest meaning that overrides the others is the stability and security offered through the power of the anchor. It keeps the ship still, prevents it from swaying and swinging left and right, or getting lost in the ocean. It also prevents the ships from moving in the harbor and potentially damaging the other ships.
That’s why anchor is the symbolic sign of stability and security. Similarly to the way the ship is stable in one place thanks to the anchor, the same way its symbolism brings stability to you and your peers, relationships, friendships, and family affairs.
Given that the anchor originates from early Christianity, it also holds a strong symbolism for protection. The Christ believers who fought in the name of God carried the tattoos of a vessel that resembles something between the anchor and cross, believing that it protects them from the evil forces and sin.
In the same way, it’s believed that anchor presents protection from the evil spirits, envy, jealousy, and betrayal.
When we talk about the salvation meaning of the anchor tattoo, we can’t help but look at the brave sailors again, who were traveling through the raging storms and battling the high waves.
Anchors and harbors offered salvation to them because once the ship sailed into the anchor, they felt like they were at home, surrounded by the calm waters. It also plays an important role in the change, which we may see as salvation.
Such change can involve making physical changes, healing from heartbreak or loss of a loved one, letting go of the negativity that crippled us, and more.
Enlightenment is an important symbol that stands behind the tattoo of an anchor. It helps people understand their flaws or other things that they were, perhaps doing wrong. Enlightenment also helps people come to an understanding of who is good for them and who isn’t.
Given that the anchor tattoo symbols first appeared with Christianity, for many people transcending into the belief in Jesus and Christianity in general represented one form of enlightenment.
Finally, the tattoo of an anchor, coupled with other symbolisms and meanings can represent the glimpse of hope of the warm sun after the rain and better days. Many people who are facing challenges that they think are impossible to overcome, get inked with an anchor in the hope for better days to come and more fortune for those people.
Where’s The Best Spot To Make An Anchor Tattoo?
Men and women who are getting the anchor tattoo have different preferences and generally make an anchor tattoo on their shoulder, arm, or back. But, where is the truest best spot for the anchor tattoo to be located? Here are some of the spots that we found the best.
- Anchor tattoo on forearm
- Anchor tattoo on wrist.
- Anchor tattoo on thighs
- Anchor tattoo on calves
- Anchor tattoo on shoulder
- Anchor tattoo near the rib cage
- Anchor tattoo behind the ear
- Anchor tattoo on the back.
- Anchor tattoo sleeve
- Anchor tattoo on the neck
12 Best Anchor Tattoo Designs
Whether you’re looking for a large anchor tattoo or rather a small one, coming with a design created that is unique and better than any others that you’ve found can be difficult and exhausting.
If you ran out of inspiration, we prepared a list of the best anchor tattoo designs, suitable for everyone. Make sure to check them out.
1. Anchor & Humming Bird
This tattoo features a lot of symbols. The longer you stare at it, the more symbols you’ll notice. Eventually, you’ll be left admiring this work of art, because all the symbols in the puzzle fit perfectly and depict the perfect meanings. You can find a hummingbird, which is often associated with the sea and water, an infinity sign sitting at the top of the anchor, a rope, as well as a text, etched into the anchor.
There is a lot of attention to detail, while the complete artwork looks pleasing to the eye and attractive. Hopefully, this will be a great idea for your next tattoo, and the best part is that it can sit anywhere.
2. Floral Anchor
No tattoo listicle goes without a gorgeous floral work attached to the center of our focus, and that is the anchor. We believe that the primary focus of this tattoo is the flowers. The anchor is minimally focused on, but that’s what makes it even more creative and artistic. For those who are looking for simple and easy to make tattoo designs, this is a perfect choice.
This tattoo design can also go well on other body parts, such as the forearm, wrist, thighs, back, shoulder, and chest.
3. Snake & Anchor
Like we said earlier, the anchor can be combined with a great variety of other symbols. One of them is a snake, the symbol of wisdom, healing, protection, and more. At first sight, we all perceive snakes as venomous predators that we fear. Combined with an anchor symbol, these two give an impression of stability and protection. There are also floral symbols, so we can call this design quite abstract too.
This is a great design for forearms, but you can also find it on the biceps, back, wrists, sides, and thighs.
Also Read: Best Snake Tattoo Designs To Inspire You: The Art of Curls
4. Anchor With Compass
There are a lot of tattoo designs that feature an anchor together with a compass. Both objects are proudly used by the sailors, the first one helps keep their ship in the harbor, while the compass helps with the orientation. The two are inseparable on tattoos and also blend well together.
This design, although it seems fresh, still needing to heal, gives a detailed projection of how connected the anchor and compass are. They are two things that a sailor, an explorer can’t go without. There are a lot more designs that are similar to this one, and they can be found in different positions across the body.
5. Black Anchor
If there was a competition for the most minimalistic design, it’d be this black anchor. There’s not a lot to say about it, except that it’s compact and tiny as a button, which makes it cute in the process. Of course, you can play with different locations on your body and see how it’d look like if you inked it.
Still, we recommend that you combine this design with some extra decorations like flowers, sky, birds, ropes, and other symbols. If you’re looking for a pure and simple design that won’t be too time-consuming and painful, then this works too.
6. Mermaid On Anchor
Mermaids are a popular choice on a tattoo, and a lot of sailors combine mermaid designs with their anchor tattoos. This particular tattoo probably focuses on as many ocean elements, such as this one, where a mermaid is sitting on an anchor surrounded by the wavy sea.
The anchor tattoo can be combined with many designs that are associated with the ocean and sailing. You only need to get creative enough and experiment with hand-drawn designs until you find what you’re looking for.
7. Traditional Anchor Tattoo
This is another abstract anchor design, embedded with beautifully-looking and vibrant patterns etched in the design. In addition to the lovely-looking, a kind of tribe-like anchor, there is also a large ship centering at the top of the anchor.
This looks like sort of the old anchor tattoos, that is resonating with the 17th and 18th century after the sailors already became well-versed with the oceans and seas around the globe. It’d look great on any tattoo design that you choose.
8. Anchor Tattoo On Neck
Not a lot of people dare to make neck tattoos, but the result of this one is definitely worth the pain and struggle. Not many people opt to have an anchor tattooed on their neck, but this one is quite detailed, sharp, and precisely drawn. It’s visible that it was inked by a professional.
This simple anchor design is easy to remaster, and you can combine other symbols with this design as well as other tattoo locations of your preference.
9. Sleeve Anchor Tattoo
Anchors appear on numerous sleeve tattoos. Like this one above, anchor sleeve tattoos are connected with other symbols associated with sailors and sea life. This particular tattoo is enriched with a compass, which is a loyal companion of a lot of the anchor tattoos.
In addition to that, there is a map of Earth, which is made to add the background effect to the sleeve. Of course, you can add more details such as the chain, or even make a colorful design to the anchor sleeve tattoo. Nevertheless, this minimalistic design looks crisp and detailed.
Also Read: Half Sleeve Tattoos For Men: 30+ Best Design Recommendations
10. Anchor On A Rope Tattoo
The rope is an interesting detail that you can add to your anchor tattoo if you’re out of ideas. A lot of anchors boast wire or a more solid cable, while the ropes are present in older and older ships. Nevertheless, this anchor comes with a detailed compass, which, as mentioned above is a popular addition to the anchor tattoos.
11. Heart Anchor
This simplistic but highly creative anchor tattoo boasts a rope that connects the anchor to the heart-shaped balloon. The heart is a symbol of love, especially if it’s red, like in the tattoo displayed above. It’s also a great addition to the small wrist-like tattoos, as well as smaller designs that are harder to notice but still play an important role in your life.
Also Read: Heart Tattoos: What They Mean And 24 Design Ideas
12. Infinity Anchor
The last tattoo from our list is the Infinity anchor tattoo, but it’s also one of the best anchor tattoo designs that we saw. It’s rich in details and different motifs. The anchor is attached to infinity, a forever sign that is embroidered with flowers, leaves, and other floral-like symbols. If you want to dedicate this tattoo to a certain person you can even add a name, like in this picture.
Alternatively, you can add a date, lyrics, or a memorable quote that leads you through life. This way or another, the possibilities are endless.
Additional Questions About Anchor Tattoo
Anchor tattoos have a lot of meanings, and nearly everyone can identify with the meaning of anchor. However, it was mostly sailors and people who work on the sea that opt to get this tattoo. Now, the popularity of the anchor tattoos changed and other people also opt to try them out.
Here we answer some additional questions about the anchor tattoos, make sure to check them and see if you find something that will interest you.
How Much Do The Anchor Tattoos Cost?
The price varies from artist to artist. Some studios are affordable enough to offer a sub-$100 deal. However, more professional tattoo studios and artists will account for the size of the tattoo, whether it’s a sleeve tattoo, and adds more elements into the design, how much time it’ll take, and other factors.
When all of these are calculated, the price of the anchor tattoo can be up to $500, and sometimes even more in certain studios.
Are Anchor Tattoos For Men?
Anchor tattoos are popular among men, because of their associations to sailing and the sea. However, they’re not only limited to men. Nevertheless, it’s more likely to see a man asking for it than a woman.
What Symbol To Tattoo Together With Anchor?
This choice is up to your preferences. Luckily, if you’re out of ideas, many symbols go well with an anchor. Some of them include, but are not limited to:
- Anchor with a heart
- Anchor with a compass
- Anchor with a rope
- Anchor with a mermaid
- Anchor with a bird such as a swallow, sparrow, or hummingbird.
- Anchor on a ship
You can get creative with different designs and consult your friends or a tattoo artist that is going to work on your tattoo about the best ideas.
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