Harry Styles Tattoo Meanings: See All the One Direction Singer's Ink and the Significance Behind His Tattoos
Will he ever run out of space? Nope, there is always room for more -- Harry Styles is indeed known for his extensive body art collection. The tattoo-addicted singer continues to add more designs, as he was showing off his latest inks, hanging out poolside topless with his British pals Alexa Chung and Pixie Geldof last weekend. Check out all of his 53 tattoos below and discover the significant meanings behind them!
1. "Love" banner on chest
Before getting covered up by a pair of swallows, Styles had a simple black and white banner with the word "Love" inked inside on the left side of his chest, over his heart. One Directioners believe that the singer covered it to both literally and figuratively hide his love.
2. Crosses with the letters "M" and "K" below them on chest
Harry Styles has two tiny crosses inked next to one another with the capital letter "M" below one and "K" below the other on the left side of his chest. He is assumed to be Catholic, since he often sports a necklace with a crucifix on it and was seen wearing a medal featuring St. Christopher, who is the patron saint of travelers in the Catholic religion. It seems like the singer's cross tattoos are tied to his religious beliefs, as well as a tribute to a beloved family member or friend.
3. "Might as well..." on waist
The British boybander got a tattoo on the lower left side of his waist in early 2013 that reads "Might as well..." in small black letters. Like many of Styles' other tattoos, the piece is pretty crude and looks like it could have been inked by one of his band mates, since the 1D members apparently enjoy tattooing each other. In fact, Styles has several imperfect tattoos that were done by non-professionals. Many have joked that the meaning of this tattoo is -- "Might as well..." get more tattoos.
4. Heart on arm
The Midnight Memories singer has a black filled in heart on the upper part of his left arm, on the left of his ship tattoo. Tattoo artist Freddy Negrete of the Shamrock Social Club tattoo shop inked the design while Harry Styles was in Los Angeles in December 2012. It is assumed that both heart and ship tattoos are a tribute to his ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift because of a nearly identical ship tattoo that appears in her "I Knew You Were Trouble" music video. However, Styles claims otherwise: "We're always on the road but my heart is at home and I want a ship." Also, some people believe that his heart tattoo could also be a pun -- he wears his heart on his sleeve.
5. Coat hanger on arm
Harry Styles has a tiny black coat hanger inked on his left bicep, near his black heart and nail tattoos. Some people speculate that the ink is yet another reference to the singer's sexual preferences, hinting he is in the closet, while others claim that it is some kind of reference to being controlled and manipulated by the music industry.
6. "Things i can" on arm
The One Direction singer has the phrase "Things i can" written across the inside of his right forearm in a crude, funky font with black ink. He got the artwork inked in Dublin, Ireland on Oct. 12, 2012. Although Styles has several tattoos inked on his left arm, this piece is the only tattoo that he has on his right arm to date.
7. "Things i can't" on arm
Similarly, Harry Styles has another tattoo that reads "Things i can't" on the inside of his left forearm in the same font and color just below the tiny letter "A" tattoo. It is believed that his matching tattoos were inspired by the well-known serenity prayer that says, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
8. "won't stop 'till we surrender" on arm
The British cutie has a quote tattoo that reads, "won't stop 'till we surrender," in black italic font on his upper arm/bicep area. Inked by Paul Nguyen on Jun. 26, 2012, the phrase is from Temper Trap's "Sweet Disposition," which the lyrics goes, "We won't stop 'til it's over / Won't stop to surrender." Moreover, the song talks about "reckless abandon" and "a moment of love," and the tattoo hints that Styles' love life won't stop until he surrenders. Prior to getting the tattoo, he actually tweeted some of the lyrics on Apr. 22, 2012.
9. "I CAN'T CHANGE" on wrist
Harry Styles has a tattoo that reads "I CAN'T CHANGE" in capital letters. It is written in black ink in a line across the outside of his left wrist like a bracelet, and it appears to correspond with a quotation mark tattoo that his band mate Louis Tomlinson also has inked on his wrist. Consequently, there have been plenty of rumors about a possible romantic relationship between Styles and Tomlinson. Many believe that the tattoo refers to the 2011 Leeds Festival, where the two boybanders watched Rise Against perform their song "Make It Stop," which references kids who committed suicide after being relentlessly bullied for being gay. In the song, the band sings, "Born free, but still they hate / Born me, no I can't change." Apparently, Harry Styles wore the Leeds Festival wristband for months after the performance, but when it broke, he permanently got the "I can't change" tattoo in its place. However, he previously claimed that the phrase simply is a reminder to always stay grounded.
10. "A" on arm
The 1D member has a tiny capital letter "A" on his left elbow bend. He got it inked by his friend and fellow bandmate Zayn Malik in July 2012 as a tribute to his mother, Anne Cox, with whom Styles is very close.
11. "17BLACK" on chest
Styles has a bold tattoo that reads "17BLACK" on the upper part of his chest, near his left collarbone. He is a big fan of James Bond -- his ink refers to the infamous 007's lucky roulette bet. Tattoo artist Kevin Paul inked the lucky tattoo on Aug. 13, 2012.
12. "Hi" on arm
This is one of Harry Styles' random tattoos. The word "Hi" is crudely handwritten on the inside of his left arm's bicep area. Many believe that it is actually band mate Louis Tomlinson's handwriting.
13. Swallows on chest
One of the 19-year-old singer's most prominent and probably most meaningful tattoos is the ink he has on his chest, which features two large swallows in flight. Inked in black and white, the swallows are facing one another, which makes it look like they are both headed toward the same destination. "[The swallows] symbolize traveling, and we travel a lot," said Styles. "I like that kind of style of tattoos, like the old sailor kind of tattoos." Some of the first swallow tattoos were inked on the chests of sailors after they sailed 5,000 nautical miles, and the birds are the symbol of good luck and arriving home safely. It seems like the singer got the tattoo since he is constantly on the road and away from his home in England.
14. Ship on arm
This is one of Harry Styles' most well-known tattoos: he has a gigantic ship on the upper part of his left arm after sitting through a four-hour tattoo session in December 2012. The tattoo undoubtedly stirred controversy, because the ship bears resemblance to the tattoo worn by Taylor Swift's love interest in her "I knew You Were Trouble" music video. However, Styles denied the rumors of him getting it inked as a tribute to Swift by saying that he got it in honor of his home and family. "He wanted a realistic looking English ship, because he missed home and needs to remind himself that he's homeward bound," said Freddy Negrete, the singer's favorite tattoo artist.
15. "Gemma" in Hebrew on arm
Styles got his older sister's name "Gemma" inked in Hebrew on the upper part of his left arm. The tattoo was reportedly done by Freddy Negrete in September 2012.
16. Pink Floyd Prism on arm
On the upper part of his left arm, the One Direction singer has a very simple prism tattoo inspired by Pink Floyd's iconic "Dark Side of the Moon" album cover, which depicts a triangle prism with white light being converted into the colors of the rainbow. Inked in black and white, the tattoo is an obvious tribute to the English rock band. In April 2013, his band mate Zayn Malik also got an identical Pink Floyd prism tattoo on the inside of his right bicep.
17. Star on arm
A black star outline on the inside of Harry Styles' left arm is the singer's first-ever tattoo that was inked in February 2012. Although it started out as just an outline, he eventually had the star filled in with black ink. Many assume that the singer just got the ink to celebrate his 18th birthday, while others believe that Styles got the five-pointed star as a tribute to the five members of One Direction.
18. Theater masks on ribcage
The "Best Song Ever" singer has a black and white tattoo featuring the classic drama and comedy theater masks on the left side of his ribcage. The images of the masks come from the comic and tragic muses, Melpomene and Thalia, in ancient Greek drama. Although the masks were originally used by characters in Greek theater so that the audience could easily identify their emotions, today they are used in tattoos for people who appreciate live theater performance.
19. Closed birdcage on ribcage
Harry Styles has an interesting tattoo that features an empty birdcage with the door closed on the left side of his ribcage. The birdcage being closed hints that the singer feels caged in, be free or he can't be himself. It reminds one of the poem I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelous, which reads, "The caged bird sings / with fearful trill / of the things unknown / but longed for still / and his tune is heard / on the distant hill / for the / caged bird / sings of freedom." On the other hand, some people say his tattoo is just a pun for rib-cage.
20. "Can I Stay?" on arm
Styles is obviously a fan of random phrases. He added yet another one to his massive collection in May 2013 -- a tattoo on his the upper part of his left arm that reads "Can I Stay?" It is the name of a song by Ray LaMontagne, which it goes, "Can I stay here with you till the morning / I am so far from home and I feel a little stoned / So can I stay here with you till the morning?"
21. "Home Made" on arm
The 1D singer had "Home Made" written on the upper part of his left arm. It is believed that Styles got the phrase inked as a tribute to his home and family. However since it looked very unfinished and unprofessionally done, he ended up covering it up with the intricate English ship.
22. "NEVER GONNA" on ankle
Harry Styles has "NEVER GONNA" in capital letters on his left ankle. The phrase is taken from George Michael's "Careless Whisper." The songs goes, "I should have known better than to cheat a friend / And waste the chance that I'd been given / So I'm never gonna dance again / The way I danced with you."
23. "DANCE AGAIN" on ankle
"DANCE AGAIN," a phrase taken from the George Michael song is also inked in capital letters on Styles' right ankle. The elusive tattoo was allegedly done by his friend Tom Atkin.
24. Green Bay Packers logo on arm
The boybander got the Green Bay Packers logo as a result of a bet with a friend. According to Harry Styles, he had a bet with his American pal Cal, who is a big Packers fan, that if the team won the following day, the singer would get their logo tattooed on his left arm. However, Styles would not have been able to go to the tattoo parlor the following day due to his busy schedule. He then asked his friend, "Are they gonna win?" and his friend said, "Yeah, they're definitely gonna win." Trusting his friend completely, the singer went and got the logo inked that day, before the team actually played. Unfortunately, the Packers ended up losing the game the next day.
25. Padlock on wrist
A tiny padlock is inked in a crude design on the outside of Styles' left wrist, just above where his watch lies. It is filled in with black ink and accompanied by a key tattoo, which is inked to the right and slightly above the padlock. The padlock tattoo was done by his friend Ed Sheeran on Aug. 13, 2012.
26. "SMCL" on ribcage
The British singer has a tattoo on the left side of his ribcage that reads, "SMCL" in capital letters. It is believed that the piece stands for "Smile More Cry Later," which could definitely tie into his comedy and drama theater masks tattoo, which is located on the left of the tattoo. However, some people have also speculated that "SMCL" could stand for Simon Cowell, the "X Factor" judge who put One Direction together.
27. Iced gem cookie on arm
Styles has a cookie tattoo inked in black and white on the inside of his left arm as a tribute to his sister. Apparently, his older sister Gemma's nickname as a child was Gem, so the British singer decided to honor his sister with a tattoo featuring the popular British biscuit known as an iced gem.
28. "X" on ribcage
Harry Styles has a capital letter "X" inked in black right below his "SMCL" tattoo. The significance of the "X" tattoo is unknown, although a number of other pop stars have mysterious "X" tattoos inked on their bodies, including Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Chris Brown.
29. "99p" on wrist
The One Direction singer has the symbol "99p" inked on his left wrist. Being born and raised in the U.K., "99p" could possibly represent 99 pence, a British monetary sign. Some people have said that his tattoo could also stand for 99 problems, in which case Styles could be referring to Jay-Z's track, which he raps, "If you're having girl problems I feel bad for you son / I got 99 problems but bitch ain't one."
30. "PINGU" on arm
Harry Styles has a tattoo that reads "PINGU" in capital letters on the inside of his left arm. He got it inked by Kevin Paul on Aug. 13, 2012, and "PINGU" refers to the main penguin character from a 1980's children's claymation series. Ed Sheeran, who opted for a similar tattoo but with the actual penguin image instead of the word, was asked how he got Styles to get the word "PINGU" inked on his arm. "I mentioned it; he was like, 'Alright then,'" he said.
31. Clover on wrist
Most people get clover or shamrock tattoos to celebrate their Irish heritage. However, Styles got a tiny one on his left wrist as a tribute to Los Angeles' Shamrock Social Club (SSC) tattoo parlor, where he got most of his tattoos. "1D's @harrystyles is def fam now. He also got the SSC shamrock tattoo last night and the Hebrew writing," Freddy Negrete posted online.
32. Key on wrist
The 1D singer sports a tiny key tattoo, adjacent to his padlock tattoo on his left wrist. It is designed to look like an old-fashioned skeleton key; it also looks like an arrow. Styles' key tattoo is inked in black, and actually matches a key tattoo that his band mate Louis Tomlinson has inked on his right ankle, which caused rumors that the pair are secret lovers.
33. Aquarius sign on wrist
Harry Styles has a couple of squiggly lines that look like waves -- they are actually meant to represent his zodiac sign. He was born on Feb. 1, 1994, which makes him an Aquarius.
34. Screws on ankle
Styles has a tattoo featuring two screws, one on each ankle. The ink looks like a small x or +, and all the One Direction members sport the same ink. Harry Styles and Zayn Malik were the first to get the screws, which they inked them on each other, followed by Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson. Niall Horan was the last of the group to get the ink because he is apparently afraid of needles.
35. "Ny" on shoulder
New York is one of the cities where the British singer spent a lot of his time in the past, either performing with One Direction or hanging out with his former girlfriend Taylor Swift. Styles sports a small, crude "Ny" tattoo inked in black on his left shoulder, with the "N" being a capital letter and the "y" being a lower-case letter.
36. "LDN" on shoulder
Harry Styles was born and raised in the U.K., and was definitely inspired to get a tattoo dedicated to his home town of London on his body. "LDN" is inked in black capital letters on his left shoulder.
37. "LA" on shoulder
Styles also has a tiny tattoo honoring Los Angeles with the letters "LA" inked on his left shoulder, right next to his "Ny" and "LDN" tattoos. The significance behind the ink has to do with the places he has come to know as home while he is on the road.
38. Guitar on shoulder
The One Direction singer has a very light tattoo of a small guitar on the back of his left shoulder. Music obviously plays a major role in his life and he probably got the ink as a tribute to his musical background.
39. Handshake on arm
There is a large image of two hands shaking on the outside of Styles' left bicep. The most apparent meaning of his tattoo is equality, which started up his gay rumors all over again. The black and white design was inked on Jan. 21, 2013
40. Butterfly below chest
A huge butterfly is inked in the center of the singer's chest. Inked in black and white, the wings are outstretched across his upper abdomen. It is notable that the ink is similar to a butterfly tattoo that Steve McQueen sports in the film "Papillon," which means "butterfly" in French.
41. Nails on arm
Harry Styles has three large nails on the upper part of his left arm, next to his black heart and ship tattoos. Some have said that the ink could be a pun for nail gun, a good luck symbol or a religious sign.
42. "g" on shoulder
On his right shoulder, the 1D singer has a large tattoo of the letter "g," which presumably represents his older sister, Gemma. The lower-case "g" is inked in a black italic font.
43. "A" on shoulder
In addition to the tiny "A" tattoo inked on the inside of his left elbow, Styles sports a capital letter "A" inked in a simple black italic font on his left shoulder. It is an obvious tribute to his beloved mother, Anne Cox.
44. Crown on toe
Inked in black and white, Harry Styles has a simple and small crown on the big toe of his right foot. The design is much like Justin Bieber's crown tattoo on his chest, which he got to name himself the prince of pop.
45. Cross on hand
In addition to his two tiny cross tattoos (with the letters "M" and "K") inked on his chest, the British singer got a small black cross on the outside of his band, near his thumb. This also might be tied to his religious beliefs.
46. Rose on arm
Styles has a large black rose with stem and leaves on his left arm, right below his ship tattoo. He reportedly got the ink while on a two-week break from touring in Los Angeles. Roses are traditionally a symbol of love, beauty and romance. Some people think that his rose tattoo may be a tribute to One Direction's hit "Best Song Ever," in which he sings, "Said her name was Georgia Rose, and her daddy was a dentist / Said I had a dirty mouth, but she kissed me like she meant it / I said can I take you home with me, she said never in your wildest dreams."
47. Skeleton on arm
The tattoo on Harry Styles's left arm features a grinning skeleton dressed in a fancy black suit with a red bowtie and a top hat with a feather in it. Interestingly, the skeleton is inked inside of a rectangle, which almost makes it look like a portrait.
48. 1957 on collarbone
The singer actually got this year tattoo at the same time when he got the skeleton tattoo. The number 1957 is inked in black on his right collarbone. It is believed that 1957 probably marks the birth year of Harry's father, Des Styles.
49. 1967 on collarbone
The year 1967 is inked in the same spot on his left collarbone. The tattoo clearly is a tribute to Styles' mother Anne Cox, who was born in 1967.
50. New Zealand fern on arm
This is a relatively new addition to Styles's extensive body art collection -- the tattoo, which was initially thought to be a castle with a flag in the top, actually features a small image of a silver fern. Inked in black and white on his left arm, it is believed that the singer got it while he was on "Take Me Home" world tour either in Australia or New Zealand. The silver fern is a national emblem of New Zealand, and it is used in the country's coat of arms and on its one-dollar coin. The tattoo was inked to commemorate the New Zealand leg of One Direction's tour.
51. Anchor on wrist
The 1D singer got a Popeye-inspired anchor on his wrist to cover up his already existing "I CAN'T CHANGE" ink. It is possible that he had a sudden epiphany that he actually "can" change and decided to start living by changing up his tattoo. Although he got a giant anchor to cover up, it is clearly visible where the pre-existing ink was.
52. Holy Bible on arm
Harry Styles recently covered up his "Things i can't" tattoo on his left forearm with a Holy Bible, which is a more definite symbol of the singer's faith.
53. "SILVER SPOON" on arm
This is one of his latest designs added his tattoo collection -- Styles got the words "SILVER SPOON" around the same time that he debuted his Bible tattoo. It is written on the back of his arm, just above his elbow. The ink is believed to have something to do with his international success in One Direction -- in the English language, the expression "born with a silver spoon in his mouth" is synonymous with wealth, especially inherited wealth, and is often used to describe someone who is born into a wealthy family.
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