1

tattoo

noun tat·too \ ta-ˈtü \
plural tattoos
1 : an indelible mark or figure fixed upon the body by insertion of pigment under the skin or by production of scars
2 : the act of tattooing : the fact of being tattooed

tattoo was our Word of the Day on 03/10/2017. Hear the podcast!

First Known Use of tattoo

1777

in the meaning defined at sense 2

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

2

tattoo

verb
tattooed; tattooing; tattoos
1 : to mark the skin with (a tattoo)
  • tattooed a flag on his chest
2 : to mark or color (the skin) with tattoos

tattooer

noun

tattooist

play \ta-ˈtü-ist\ noun

Origin and Etymology of tattoo

Tahitian tatau, noun, tattoo

3

tattoo

noun
plural tattoos
1 : a rapid rhythmic rapping
2 a : a call sounded shortly before taps as notice to go to quarters
b : outdoor military exercise given by troops as evening entertainment

Origin and Etymology of tattoo

alteration of earlier taptoo, from Dutch taptoe, from the phrase tap toe! taps shut!

4

tattoo

verb
tattooed; tattooing; tattoos
: to beat or rap rhythmically on : drum on
: to give a series of rhythmic taps

First Known Use of tattoo

1780

in the meaning defined at transitive sense

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler


TATTOO Defined for Kids

1

tattoo

verb tat·too \ ta-ˈtü \
tattooed; tattooing
: to mark the body with a picture or pattern by using a needle to put color under the skin

2

tattoo

noun
plural tattoos
: a picture or design made by putting color under the skin

Medical Dictionary

1

tattoo

transitive verb tat·too \ ta-ˈtü \
: to mark or color (the skin) with tattoos

2

tattoo

noun
plural tattoos
: an indelible mark or figure fixed upon the body by insertion of pigment under the skin or by production of scars


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up tattoo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to hasten

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism

  • test-your-emoji-exceptionalism-written-with-a-lot-of-emoji
  • What is this emoji intended to represent: 🤳
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!