The Meaning Behind a Semicolon Tattoo | Tattoo Inksider (2023)

What does a semicolon tattoo mean?

Are you looking to add a new tattoo to your collection, or have a client looking to get a semicolon tattoo and wondered what it means?

When it comes to choosing a tattoo, many of us opt for one that is meaningful– after all, it will be stuck to us for the rest of our lives. The semicolon is an excellent choice as it has a profound and touching meaning behind it.

But what does a semicolon tattoo even mean?

You’ve probably seen it over Instagram, Twitter, and even a tattoo Pinterest page of people getting a semicolon ink on their skin. Still, it is actually more meaningful, and people often overlook it as a tattoo.

The semicolon tattoo spreads a strong meaning of solidarity and strength in the face of suicide, depression, and mental health. People tend to get a semicolon tattoo design to represent how far they’ve come and a sign of overcoming a tough disorder.

Let’s get into all the ways you can get this tattoo and all the different meanings.

Project Semicolon:

As said above, the most common meaning of a semicolon tattoo and the most prominent reason in our society today is the connotations of overcoming a mental health issue and as a way of looking back at how far you’ve come.

Why is a Semicolon a Symbol for Depression?

The key meaning of Project Semicolon was to raise awareness of the mental illness, self-harm, suicide, and addiction. This is because, in writing, the “semicolon represents a sentence where the author could’ve ended but chose not to.”

This sentence is your life, and how you’ve overcome mental illness and continued to fight.

Amy Bleuel first introduced the Project Semicolon in 2013 to inspire those with depression, suicide, and self-harm that they can overcome this, it may seem like a long way down the tunnel, but it is possible.

The Project semicolon encouraged people to draw a semicolon on their wrist in solidarity and as a way to raise awareness and support for mental disorders, as they are often seen as silent killers. It encourages those suffering from mental health issues to speak up and open up about their disorder to others.

Project semicolon is a nonprofit organization and a snapshot of awareness and solidarity. Getting a semicolon tattoo is a permanent reminder of how far you have come and a reminder of how strong you are as a person; you deserve to be here, and you deserve all the love in the world.

The semicolon project was established to raise awareness of mental health issues, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and addiction amongst individuals who struggle, it allows them to tell their stories with somebody and allows for thousands to talk about their mental health and send a message.

The semicolon tattoo is there for you through all the tough days and all the happy days as a permanent reminder of how far you’ve come, and it is an excellent tattoo choice for anyone who has suffered or knows someone who has suffered from mental health issues.

One thing I absolutely love about semicolon tattoos is the different story behind each, different story, different inspiration, a different meaning from person to person. Even those each design is the same, each story and meaning behind it is different.

Their story isn’t over yet, which makes this tattoo so powerful, it represents the survivors of mental illness, those that didn’t give in to their mind bringing them down.

Different semicolon tattoo design:

There are different and beautiful ways to design a semicolon tattoo to make it unique to you and your story, here are the top semicolon tattoo designs people use to represent the semicolon symbol.

Semicolon Butterfly Tattoo:

The semicolon butterfly tattoo is a beautiful way to tell your story of your journey through mental health because butterflies turn from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly and represent the transformation of mental health.

Survivors of suicide attempts or those going through mental health use the butterfly semicolon tattoo to show their evolution, from a depressed suicidal state and almost come back to lif, it is also a sign of beauty.

In Christianity, the butterfly also represents resurrection, which can mark the start of a new life, one where you’ve overcome mental health.

It is a breathtaking tattoo that will raise mental health awareness and act as a permanent reminder for someone that they are the butterfly and they’ve overcome everything that was holding them down.

Semicolon Heart Tattoo:

This is another small and delicate tattoo idea that comes with a touching message about mental illness. As we all know hearts a well-known symbol of love but also life.

It will mark your skin permanently as a constant reminder to love yourself. It reminds survivors of suicidal thoughts that love saved them from the darkest times in their life.

The heart on the semicolon tattoo also acts as thanks to them they’re still around to tell their stories. It is often tattooed on the wrist or in an area that is easy to see to remind them to love themselves and to symbolize how far they have come.

It is also extremely popular amongst women who struggle with their body image and struggle to love themselves, it is a reminder that they deserve love and they’re beautiful.

Semicolon Tattoo On The Wrist:

The semicolon tattoo on the wrist isn’t just a common or popular spot to have the tattoo, it actually has a much more poignant meaning. The semicolon tattoo can be worn anywhere as it is subtle enough but for certain places, it has certain meanings.

One reason why the semicolon tattoo is most commonly found on the wrist is that is part of the body that is easy to see and works as an everyday reminder of the journey the survivor has gone on to get to that point, but it also represents overcoming self-harm.

The semicolon tattoo can be used to over-write and cover up scars on your wrist and arm, acting as a powerful reminder that the wearer has overcome self-harm and as an everyday reminder of how far they’ve come since their lowest point.

Semicolon Birds Tattoo:

Another classic design of the semicolon tattoo is a design with a bird. This is because a bird symbolizes freedom as they swim, walk and fly.

The bird also has a spiritual meaning; some cultures believe that they are messengers from heaven and earth, the wearer is finally free from their mental health and has gone on a journey to freedom.

This is often seen amongst those who have suffered from addiction, as it has the real meaning of being free of addiction and having more control over your life.

But that’s not all, specific birds also have different meanings: doves are the symbol of hope, swallows are the symbol of safety and as a guide to lost souls. The phoenix is a symbol of the resurrection ‘rising from the ashes’ as you rise from your past and work towards your future.

The bird is popular amongst survivors of depression, suicide, addiction and a symbol of a fresh start.

Semicolon Dragonfly Tattoo

Another popular semicolon tattoo is the dragonfly, this is a very positive symbol and represents change, strength, joy, and bravery.

Those who were survivors of suicide or suicidal thoughts tend to find peace in the dragonfly, it shows true strength and acts as a reminder that there is light at the end of the tunnel and you can overcome your deepest and darkest thoughts.

The design is also unique and versatile, it can be worn large or small.

Semicolon Cross Tattoo:

Christian survivors of suicide, depression, and mental illness often opt for the cross semicolon tattoo to represent the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as a reminder that his followers were saved from sin.

When the cross is combined with the semicolon it sends a message that god and religion has healed them and helped them get through the dark moments of their life.

It is a permanent reminder of the Christain faith in God and a reminder that they’re not alone, it is also a brilliant conversation starter in religious support groups.

Semicolon infinity sign:

The infinity sign represents forever and always. This has a very heartfelt meaning, especially for those suffering from mental illness. It also represents how you have overcome a mental illness and not let it hold you back.

It is a permanent way of saying no matter what life throws at you, you should always keep going. It can be designed in many different ways and can even add different artistic flares or additions to make it unique to you.


The semicolon tattoo has more of a deeper meaning than it may seem. The semicolon represents the part of the sentence where the author could have ended the sentence but chose not to.

In life, the semicolon is a brilliant social media movement supporting those who wanted to end their life, suffered from depression or even addiction, and didn’t let it take over but instead overcome them.

The semicolon is powerful and acts as a true sign of beauty as it represents what the wearer has overcome and the different stories they have to tell.

Everyone is different and whether you’re a tattoo artist or just looking for another piece of meaningful body art then this tattoo may be best for you!


What does a semicolon tattoo symbolize? ›

A semicolon tattoo is a tattoo of the semicolon punctuation mark (;), which is used as a message of affirmation and solidarity with those who have dealt with suicide, depression, addiction, and other mental health issues.

What does the 3 semicolon tattoo mean? ›

In 2015, these semicolon tattoos went viral. It was part of a broadly defined movement to raise awareness of mental health and suicide. “A semicolon is used when an author could've chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to,” Project Semicolon's website declared. “The author is you, and the sentence is your life.”

Why would you get a semi semicolon tattoo? ›

Project Semicolon began as a call for people to draw a ";" on their body to highlight a range of mental health issues including depression, suicide, addiction and self-harm. Many are now making the marks permanent, with semicolon tattoos.

Is it appropriate to get a semicolon tattoo? ›

You may need permission: If you're under 18, you'll need a parent or guardian's permission to get the tattoo. Be ready to share: A semicolon tattoo symbolizes your battle with depression, suicide, or mental health illness. People might ask, so make sure you're ready to share your story.

Is semicolon tattoo for anxiety? ›

Project Semicolon is about people who have suffered from mental health issues – including anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts – drawing, stencilling or tattooing semicolons on to their skin.

Can a semicolon tattoo meaning anxiety? ›

A semicolon tattoo is a message about mental health and suicide prevention. It started in 2013 when Project Semicolon was launched as a way to encourage discussion about depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. The message of Project Semicolon ( is “your story isn't over.”

Who got the semicolon tattoo 13 Reasons Why? ›

Season 2 of Netflix's adaptation of 13 Reasons Why started off on a sentimental note thanks to a scene that shows the series' protagonist, Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), getting inked with a tattoo of a semicolon.

What does 3 dots tattoo mean? ›

The three dots tattoo represents “Mi Vida Loca,” which translates to “my crazy life.” It often means the struggles of the underprivileged and the minorities. It's a way of saying, “my life is crazy, but I'm thankful for it,” or “life may be crazy, but I'm still here.”

Why does Selena Gomez have a semicolon tattoo? ›

After 13 Reasons Why became a breakout show on Netflix, Selena, who executive produced the show, got a semicolon tattoo on her wrist with cast members Alisha Boe and Tommy Dorfman. Semicolon tattoos are a reference to Project Semicolon, a suicide prevention and mental health awareness platform.

Who started the semicolon tattoo trend? ›

Project Semicolon is a movement that was started by suicide survivor Amy Bleuel, and encourages people to get tattooed with the semicolon symbol. The idea is to spread awareness of mental health issues and empower people who are struggling with their own mental health.

What is the tattoo for anxiety? ›

If you're looking for anxiety tattoos, you've probably seen a lot of options with semicolons. Semicolon tattoos were inspired by Project Semicolon – a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention. Over time, the semicolon has been used to represent mental health awareness, including anxiety.

What tattoo represents mental health? ›

The green ribbon is the international symbol for mental health. In Eastern religions, the lotus flower is a symbol of enlightenment and rebirth. Lotus flowers grow in deep mud, so many people choose it as a tattoo design to symbolize how they've risen from hardship, and as a reminder that they can overcome anything.

What does a lotus flower and semicolon tattoo mean? ›

It represents someone who wanted to end their life but chose not to. When a semicolon tattoo is merged with a lotus tattoo, you get something that holds great meaning. The lotus flower can grow in muddy waters and still bloom beautifully above the water's surface.

Where is the best place to put a semicolon tattoo? ›

While a semicolon tattoo is subtle enough to be placed anywhere, many people opt to have it tattooed on their wrist. There are several reasons for this choice. One of them is that the wrist is part of the body that's easy to see, so the wearer can always look at their tattoo and find strength.

What tattoo means abuse? ›

In general, however, Medusa tattoos are a symbol of survival, often from sexual abuse, sexual assault or rape.

What tattoo symbolizes overcoming struggle? ›

"Spiritual tattoos — mandala, hamsa, chakra, tree of life, Budha, lotus, etc. — are common for battling anxiety. They symbolize the overcoming of struggle, protection, self care, rebirth, the circle of life, kindness, strength, new challenges, and new beginnings."

Is there a symbol for depression? ›

You might have seen rainstorm images, ravens, and skull or grim reaper symbols. Barren landscapes and faces of cliffs are popular, too. All of these are commonly associated with depression because they capture the essence of the darkness, despair, struggle, and thoughts of death that are hallmarks of major depression.

What does comma tattoo mean? ›

Project Semicolon began in 2013 as one woman's way to honor the father she lost to suicide. Amy Bleuel, who battled her own struggles against depression and mental illness, saw the period-comma combo as a symbol of hope.

What does a colon mean in mental health? ›

The semicolon symbolizing a continuation of mental health awareness. “The significance of the semicolon emphasizes strength and courage of those who struggled with mental health,” Smith said. Hannah Hart, Staff Writer. December 3, 2019.

Why did Thirteen Reasons Why get Cancelled? ›

According to Netflix, the show will end because it has reached the natural conclusion of its narrative arc. Season four “will feature the core cast's graduation from High School," which will be a "natural conclusion to the show.”

What does 2% tattoo mean? ›

Those who bear this tattoo, wear it with pride because it points to the victory in that persons life. Most who bear the the mark of the 2% have survived a battle that many will not. The 2% is representative of the mere 2% of people who are statistically shown to have success in drug and alcohol treatment.

Does teardrop tattoo mean? ›

A teardrop tattoo is a small tattoo in the shape of a teardrop near one or both eyes. It is closely associated with gang and prison culture, where it often indicates one has served time, one has been humiliated, or one has killed. Others may get such a tattoo to represent sorrow or loss.

What does infinity triangle tattoo mean? ›

Triangle tattoos symbolize connection, harmony, creativity, wisdom, and growth. In the spiritual sense, it also refers to the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

What does a line around the arm tattoo mean? ›

Traditionally, a solid black armband tattoo can represent the loss of a loved one. After all, black is the color of death and mourning. The shape effectively symbolizes the act of wearing the memory of the deceased on your sleeve.

What does a Medusa semicolon tattoo mean? ›

If you see someone with a semicolon tattoo, it likely means that they're struggling with mental health issues, or that they're showing support for someone who does. Sadly, Bleuel lost her mental health battle, but the project lives on in her honor.

Did Justin Bieber get a tattoo for Selena? ›

Selena Gomez portrait

Perhaps Bieber's most infamous tattoo is a portrait of ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez on his wrist, inspired by an Elle magazine photoshoot with added angel wings.

What is the symbol for mental illness? ›

The green ribbon is the international symbol of mental health awareness. Wear a green ribbon to show colleagues, loved ones or simply those you walk past that you care about their mental health.

What do psychologists say about tattoos? ›

They have found that individuals with tattoos report that they feel more attractive, stronger and more self-confident—having overcome the fear of pain. [ii] For some, tattoos seem to go deeper than just underneath the skin, creating a deep personal change, which makes him or her mentally stronger.

What personality type gets tattoos? ›

A study completed in 2007 in Germany evaluating tattooed and non-tattooed individuals using a Big Five Personality Inventory found that tattooed individuals scored higher on the subscale of extraversion, and lower on the subscale of neuroticism (Wohlrab, 2007).

Is there a symbol for bipolar disorder? ›

#2 The Colon, an Open Parenthesis, and a Colon :(:

Just like the semicolon, other forms of punctuation are used to portray mental health challenges; this arrangement of two colons and an open parenthesis represents bipolar disorder. The symbol makes a kind of double emoticon.

What tattoo symbolizes strength? ›

Lion tattoo

As the king of the jungle, lions represent courage and power. That's why they are often seen in tattoos about strength. What is this? As the glyph of the Leo sign, they also show up in most Leo tattoos.

Are tattoos good for depression? ›

Potential ways tattoos can positively impact mental health include: demonstrating a sense of commitment. encouraging camaraderie with others living with depression. increasing awareness about mental health.

What tattoo means abuse survivor? ›

The Medusa tattoo has become popular among women who have experienced sexual assault. By reclaiming the Medusa identity, they are dispelling the belief that being victimized means they ought to be cursed or punished.

What does a purple semicolon mean? ›

Description. Teal and purple semicolon pins represent self-harm, depression, and suicide awareness. Semicolons are used when a writer decides not to finish a sentence, making these awareness pins a hopeful symbol for those who support suicide prevention.

What tattoo symbolizes anxiety? ›

If you're looking for anxiety tattoos, you've probably seen a lot of options with semicolons. Semicolon tattoos were inspired by Project Semicolon – a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention. Over time, the semicolon has been used to represent mental health awareness, including anxiety.

What tattoo means overcoming struggles? ›

"Spiritual tattoos — mandala, hamsa, chakra, tree of life, Budha, lotus, etc. — are common for battling anxiety. They symbolize the overcoming of struggle, protection, self care, rebirth, the circle of life, kindness, strength, new challenges, and new beginnings."

What does a tattoo of three dots mean? ›

The three dots tattoo represents “Mi Vida Loca,” which translates to “my crazy life.” It often means the struggles of the underprivileged and the minorities. It's a way of saying, “my life is crazy, but I'm thankful for it,” or “life may be crazy, but I'm still here.”

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