Arrow Tattoo Meaning and Symbolism

Have you noticed that the arrow tattoo is becoming a growing trend among many people? Well, we’ve noticed it too!

Here’s the thing, arrows are one of the oldest and familiar objects that even preschoolers know about.

There is also no denying the fact that arrows are easily recognized anywhere in the world.

A quick check and you will find that arrow signs have been used in hunting, history, warfare, dreams, visions, vehicle signs, and pretty much everything.

Everywhere you go, be it at the airport or just driving around the city, you will definitely see an arrow sign to direct you.

So, what’s so special about arrow that it’s gaining traction in the tattoo world?

Well, we’ll find out in a bit.

But first, it’s good we take a look at what it means.

What Does Arrow Tattoo Mean?

Arrow Tattoo meaning

Arrows occupy important spots in most cultures all around the world. They have played vital roles in the olden days and are still holding it down in modern times.

However, the arrow tattoo means different things depending on the style, design and even the culture of the people.

Although not very popular now but there was a time arrow and bow where the only means for man to put food on his table.

Arrow tattoo can mean weapon and protection because of how it was used in the past during wars.

Apart from it being a tool of defense, arrow tattoo can also symbolize peace.

It represents courage in the face of danger.

Also, the arrow tattoo is a way to show your journey in life and the experiences you picked up along the way.

For anyone looking to turn a new leaf, arrow tattoo can represent their decision to start all over again.

In the military, arrows can symbolize victory, especially when you have been involved in a major battle.

Still on the meaning of arrows, the Native American culture views the arrow as a symbol of strength which they display when protecting their family, tribe and home from attacks.

This is why you will find that this particular culture cherishes the arrow as a power weapon and for hunting.

Another thing the arrow tattoo means is direction. But in this aspect, it refers to the direction of one’s life in reaching a certain destination.

For personal achievements, arrows make a great tattoo because it entails the struggles it took to achieve those milestones.

You would agree that the arrow tattoo no matter how big, bold or tiny it appears incorporates different elements. Therefore, it is one powerful symbol however you may look at it.

It’s not possible to list out all the meanings and symbolism of this important symbol because they are very broad.

But in order to give you a clearer picture, let’s pick the most popular meanings and break them down.

Arrow And Bow Tattoo

When you see an arrow tattoo that is being pulled back on a bow but was not released, what this means is intent, aim, readiness and focus.

On the other hand, when the arrow has been released, it signifies that the person has moved from the point of intention to action. Anytime you see this tattoo on someone, it means that the person is ready for any challenge that may come across and is also equipped with whatever it takes to conquer.

Arrow And Bow Tattoo

Native American Arrow Tattoo

I know we briefly touched on what the arrow means to a Native American. However, this tattoo is usually associated with this tribe. And so, it will be unfair if we do not go into a little more detail.

You will find that the bow and arrow were famously used by not only the Native Americans, but also other ancient indigenous people.

Whenever you see an arrow tattoo with a dream catcher, just know that that tattoo is peculiar to the Native American culture. This symbol can mean dominance and protection in warfare.

If the arrow tattoo is facing right, it means protection. And when it is facing left, it means ward off. For an arrow tattoo that is facing down, what this signifies is peace. If the arrow is crossed, it means an ally ship.

Chevron Arrow Tattoo

An arrow tattoo that is stacked on top of each other and facing the same direction is referred to as a chevron tattoo. These types of arrows are used in the military to represent different ranks. The chevron tattoo, in most cases, represents loyalty or dedication to one’s country.

Single Arrow Tattoo

The single arrow tattoo is so simple but has a lot of meaning. This tattoo symbolizes self-defense, and independence. It is one particular arrow tattoo that is very preferred by women regardless of their ages. It is a way of showing your inner personal strength that is used for protecting not just yourself but also the people around you. The single arrow is usually tattooed on the wrist, upper arm, back of the neck or on the foot. 

Two Arrows Tattoo

Two arrows tattoo can mean two opposing symbolisms. When the arrows are crossed, it stands for friendship and truce. This tattoo is very common among people that share close relationship or have love interest. But, if the two arrows are pointing away from the each other, it means the opposite which is conflict or war.

Bundle Of Arrows Tattoo

A bundle of arrows is usually made up of 5 arrows. These arrows comprise of the 5 powerful tribes of the Native American nations army of the Iroquois League. It represents readiness for battle and confederacy.

Broken Arrow Tattoo

At first sight, an arrow that is broken may seem like a bad omen. But in the real sense, this means an end of a battle, especially if it is the tip of the arrow that is missing. Personally, this tattoo may signify that someone has broken some hard old habits, overcome internal conflict, or moving from negativity to positivity. It’s like finding peace within yourself or settling an existing feud.

Compass Arrow Tattoo

When an arrow tattoo is accompanied by a compass, it signifies a definite plot, scheme or plan. It can also mean that you are taking a brave new direction. This is very true if one of the compass points is bisecting with the arrow. What the compass does for the arrow here is to guide it like a missile reaching far. The aim is for the arrow to hit the target. 

There are still more meanings of the arrow tattoo, but the ones listed above are the popular one.

With what we’ve covered so far, hopefully, you’ve gotten the main idea behind this tattoo.

Why Arrow Tattoos Are Popular

Just like we stated in the beginning of this article, the arrow tattoo is a very popular one.

Why is that so, you may ask?

Well, the reason is not too far-fetched from the fact that arrows are found in virtually every important aspect of life.

They serve as a sign of direction. And we all could use some direction at one point or the other in the course of our lives.

You would agree that the arrow is such a cute tattoo, and yet, has serious meanings behind it.

One other reason this tattoo is popular is because it is usually not offensive. It, therefore, seems like the perfect tattoo, especially if you are starting out new in the world of tattoo.

It is also one of the tattoos that can be customized in various ways and paired with different images.

Best Placement For Arrow Tattoos

Arrow tattoos are usually minimalistic, and therefore go well on hidden parts of the body.

You will find them in such places like the back of the ear, neck, in between the finger, shoulder blade, the wrist,on the foot, and other places.

However, if you want a bolder version of the arrow tattoo, you can go for the forearm, chest or bicep, as well as on the back.

Thinking of making your arrow tattoo sexy?

A nice small or medium arrow tattoo on the bottom of the spine, the ribs, on the stomach and thighs are good spots.

Tattooing arrow on your foot does not only look cute but has a special meaning. It means moving past what happened and forging ahead.

Where you choose to have your tattoo is an important decision to make.

Since arrows can point in any direction, you can have your arrow tattoo anywhere you like.

Frequently Asked Questions About Arrow Tattoo

What does a feather arrow mean?

Feathers and arrows both have delicate precision. Feathers on one hand aid birds to fly better and higher. On the other hand, arrows are used for direction. Therefore, both of them go hand in hand in complementing each other. But the significance means direction and flight.

What does two hands pierced by an arrow mean?

This tattoo means different things. One meaning is the relationship or bond shared by close blood relatives. People in the army or people who have been through battles use this tattoo to show their journey. It could also reflect the battle wounds they have, especially for comrades-in-arms.

What does an arrow pointing in different directions mean?

A downward pointing arrow means peace and is synonymous with the Native Indian culture. In the tattoo world, a downward pointing arrow on the arm means a flow of energy released into the world.

An upward pointing arrow refers to the bigger picture. It’s like looking through the bird’s view or having an omniscient perspective.

Then, a horizontal pointing arrow indicates distance or horizon. It could also mean defense or protection.

What does a heart and arrow tattoo mean?

There are varying meanings of this tattoo. A heart and arrow tattoo could mean that the person has found love. But it could also mean heartache, especially if the person’s heart has been broken several times. However, the one that deals with heartache is usually an arrow drawn back and pointed at the heart.


As we earlier pointed out, arrows mean a lot of things.

If we are to cover everything in this article, it will become boring and long.

Arrows reflect virtually every part of our lives.

Ranging from friendship to war, love to heartache, direction and purpose, arrows got you covered. Whatever is your reason for choosing this tattoo, we are sure you will find it an interesting tattoo to have.

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About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

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