20 Barbed Wire Tattoos With Powerful and Creative Meanings

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A barbed wire tattoo is a great way to show off to others that you consider yourself to be a formidable foe, that you possess exceptional strength, or how you have overcome a very challenging experience in your life. While the barbed wire tattoo has certainly been long associated with men, today women of all ages are taking advantage of the appeal and powerful meanings associated with this creative body ink design.

With numerous meanings and the ability to easily customize in a number of ways, the barbed wire tattoo is a great choice for your first of fiftieth ink design.

Barbed Wire Tattoo Meanings

Although the barbed wire tattoo will certainly have a very personal meaning to you and your desires and experiences, it also has some common meanings that gift it such mass appeal.

For one, anyone who is willing to have this barbed wire wrapped around their biceps is trying to tell the world they have a high threshold for pain and possess unlimited power.

This incredibly detailed body ink design represents having overcome adversity in life, dealing with the death of a loved one, and suffering significant pain in love.

The barbed wire can also symbolize Christian faith, the band of thorns Jesus was forced to wear around his head, a broken heart, and the willingness to go through any level of pain to achieve goals.

The Barbed Wire Tattoo Variations

While the barbed wire tattoo can be quite simplistic in concept, it is when you incorporate other symbols into the design that really transforms the meaning for the wearer. While some of these designs can represent imprisonment, others are a show of strength or the ability to possess incredible courage.

Depending on which variation you choose, the following four tattoo designs will give you a better idea why all the focus has been on these appealing styles lately.

Plain ‘Ole Barbed Wire

Many people getting their bodies inked simply love to wrap a strand of the barbed wire around a wrist, bicep, or thigh. Sometimes the simplest tattoo designs can have the biggest impact. The barbed wire alone can be symbolic of the crown of thorns Jesus was forced to wear when he was ridiculed for being a supposed king.

The strand of barbed wire represents a struggle, whether with inner demons, an addition, or even an abusive relationship. Inking the body with a barbed wire tattoo can be a reminder of your faith, time served in prison, or a reference to the prisoners of war during WWII. The tattoo on the bicep symbolizes having overcome adversity faced while involved in some combat.

The Cross & Barbed Wire

While getting your body inked with just the barbed wire can be a deep representation of your faith, no one will mistake your intentions when you have the wire wrapping around the cross.

This is a clear indication of your Christian faith and symbolizes your connection with Jesus and his suffering and saving all of the humanity with his crown of thorns and being nailed to the cross.

One of the ways to really make this particular tattoo design more personal is to have a meaningful psalm inked above or below the cross. Choosing a psalm you relate to gives you the power to make this piece truly unique.

The Skull & Barbed Wire

Skulls and tattoos are all the rage these days. It doesn’t matter if you have a deep affinity for the occult or just love this style, the skull design allows you to really make your tattoo design stand out. By combining the barbed wire and the skull, you now move into a unique representation that appeals to many.

Running the barbed wire through the openings in the skull represents a person’s fear of death, something that is constantly surrounding them, or the simple reminder that the Grim Reaper is waiting just around the corner for all of us.

The barbed wire running through the eyes of the skull can be symbolic of overcoming an addiction, putting it behind you, and laying to waste than time in your life.

One unique variation is opted out of the human skull and choosing an animal skull instead. This can be symbolic of a love for hunting, your first kill, or the passing of a pet you want to memorialize.

The Rose & Barbed Wire

When it comes to the rose and barbed wire, many tattoo artists have come up with some very creative ways to combine the two into one design. In one of the more popular designs, the barbed wire is utilized as the stem of the rose and the barbs are the many thorns that follow.

So like the saying every rose has its thorn, this image implies that the wearer may not be as perfect as the beauty of the rose implies. Just below the surface, they have their own imperfections that make them unique, one-of-a-kind, and who they are.

Just below that beautiful surface could lie a dark side that many never get to see. Pain in love is often represented by the rose and barbed wire, encircling the rose and demonstrating the suffering one has endured.

It can also represent a broken heart and that this person is cautious about who they let near their heart from here out. By changing the color of the rose and adding more thorns, you have the ability to make this design meaningful and unique to your life.

The Heart & Barbed Wire

One unique barbed wire tattoo variation is wrapping a heart in the barbed wire. This represents a person who feels trapped by love, showing they feel imprisoned when in a relationship, cutting off all circulation and suffocating a person.

This could be symbolic of a smothering relationship someone has escaped, an abusive relationship this person will never subject themselves to again, or the pain of unappreciated love knowing a soul mate has found another person and leaving one to suffer forever in pain.

When the wire actually pierces trough the heart, it indicates this person is living with great pain from the loss of a loved one or being unable to cope without the love of another. These hearts can easily be personalized with a person’s name to add deeper meaning and connection.

So there you have it, the creative and powerful meanings behind the barbed wire tattoo design. These tattoo designs are equally as popular with both women and men, due in part to the fact that you can create a wide array of designs with other symbols to make this tattoo your own.

Go with one of these popular variations or create your own style that allows you to connect with this design on an even deeper level.

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