Wing Tattoo Meaning and Inspiration

The symbolism of wings dates back thousands of years and spans the globe, so it should be no surprise that they’re a common motif in tattoos. Whether chosen both for their meaning, their beauty, or both, you’ll find no shortage of inspiration in this wing tattoo collection.

Wing Tattoo
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Symbolism of Wings

Wings are meaningful in many cultures and religious practices, including the traditions of ancient Egypt, Latin America, Greece, Christianity, and Hinduism. While the details may vary, wings often represent freedom, lightness, and transcendence, as well as intelligence and imagination.
Existing both in reality and legend, winged creatures range from delicate and beautiful to majestic and powerful. Wings are found on the tiniest of insects, some with paper-thin wings that are nearly transparent. They also turn a horse into a pegasus and a lizard into a dragon, both of which we’d consider an upgrade.
Even more, wings show up in many of our expressions, at least in the English language. Time is described as having wings and even flying. To “take someone under your wing” means to take an interest in someone for support or guidance. To “wing it” is to improvise, and to “spread your wings” is to establish independence, while to “clip their wings” means to take that opportunity away from someone else.

Wing Tattoo Styles

A wing tattoo can be done in any style, ranging from realistic to abstract. Black and grey is a common style, but many brighten their wings with color as well.
These three tattoos are all very different in style, and each is stunning in its own way.


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Adding a clock or a halo can change or clarify the meaning of your wings, referencing time or angels, like these two.


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Birds, bats, insects, dragons, and angels all feature distinct wing styles, and they symbolize different things.  Butterfly wings may signify rebirth or emergence, where angel wings represent purity or remembrance.
We also love this delicate lacewing tattoo for its simple beauty.


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Wing Placement

The back and the arms are common locations for wing tattoos. Worn this way, wings seem aspirational, signifying transcendence, strength, or a greater self.

These arm tattoos are fierce, conveying a ton of power.


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Inked on the ankle, this tiny tattoo may imply speed or energy, a reference to the winged feet of the Greek god Hermes.
Wing tattoos look great on other areas of the body too. The placement may also be chosen more for beauty than for meaning, and we’re into it.


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Wing Tattoos for Friends

Finally, because wings come in pairs, they make great matching tattoos for best friends or partners to show their affection and commitment.

Want more inspiration? Check out the Tattooed Women Gallery!