The Meaning Behind a Semicolon Tattoo

Last Updated on March 21, 2022

Steven Martin Headshot


written by tattoo artist Steven Martin

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.

Carrying out a tattoo

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!