18 Anchor Tattoos and Their Distinct Meaning

The anchor has been in existence for over 4000 years, and in that time it has been utilized in tattoos dating back to when Christians were actually persecuted because of their beliefs.

The anchor tattoo was used to disguise any affiliation with Christianity, helping many to circumvent persecution and continue living freely without being punished.

Long considered a symbol connecting both masculine and feminine powers, today the anchor tattoo symbolizes a wide array of meanings across many religions.

The Navy and the Anchor

It wasn’t until the 1500s when the anchor became the proud symbol of servicemen and sailors in the British Navy.

The anchor tattoo was then used to identify different generations of enlisted servicemen, allowing a son, his father, and his grandfather, to proudly display their tattoos as the family tree expanded.

Today the anchor tattoo represents more than a bloodline in the military, it embodies those unique characteristics of proud servicemen.

The anchor symbol today primarily represents loyalty and stability, the association to the anchor has widened to encompass honor, hope, protection, dedication, and salvation.

Commonly related designs with similar meanings are dog tattoos, honey bee tattoos and my brothers keeper tattoos.

The Navy anchor tattoo will usually incorporate the letters U.S.N. and the colors of the American flag design, but today even the Marines have adapted the anchor into their symbols and logos too.

Vast Meanings of the Anchor Tattoo

When you incorporate other symbols with the anchor, it can greatly change the overall meaning. The addition of the chain or rope symbolizes a fouled anchor, basically meaning highly unstable and insecure.

Although this was originally designed to be a negative connotation, it became a popular tattoo design for many sailors.

The addition of the rose to the anchor tattoo symbolizes loyalty, honor, sacrifice, and love, and will greatly impact the significance and meaning of the design.

The flower signifies a strong unconditional love to a person who has passed or a newborn child. By creating an anchor in the shape of a heart, you represent compassion, joy, and a strong bond with another.

Expanding the Meaning of the Tattoo

The sailor lives a life on the high seas, traveling to different lands and different ports during their time in the service.

As they voyage to these exotic lands, many sailors love to create reminders of these locations and indigenous cultures by incorporating different tribal aspects into their anchor tattoo.

These tribal attributes can be deeply rooted in culture, family, and nature, and symbolize the connection of the person to that culture or family.

During those voyages to foreign lands, these sailors pick up unique Celtic symbols from the cultural influences of their journeys.

That Celtic flavor symbolizes the spiritual and interdependence connection with Mother Earth and the Irish heritage.

The anchor tattoo today no longer is solely regarded as a representation of being in the Navy.

The symbolic anchor has deep ties to strong, independent, and committed attributes, allowing both men and women to express their unique personalities using a powerful symbol that has been around for many centuries.

No two anchors will look alike after the artist has added a personal touch to the design that closely represents the personality of the person getting that tattoo.

Anchor Tattoo Gallery

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