Want to know more about knife tattoos and dagger tattoos? Learn the real dagger tattoo meaning and history behind them.
If you are thinking about getting a dagger tattoo there is a lot to consider.
Dagger tattoos are some of the most popular types of tattoos among men, making it a little more difficult to stamp your own unique design on these daggers and their combinations.
One way of making your dagger tattoo more personal and meaningful is by understanding more about them, their history and the dagger tattoo meanings.
By knowing the history of dagger tattoos and how their variations change or intensify the meaning behind them, you will be well equipped to go and choose the right type of knife or dagger tattoo for you.
So, before you head to the tattoo studio with a generic idea, check out these dagger tattoos and understand more about them.
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Table of Contents
History of Knife and Dagger Tattoos
Daggers have been a prominent artifact throughout human history and even used as far back as the Bronze Age (copper daggers) or in Neolithic times when they were made with ivory, bone or flint for combat.
Even before then, early Homo Erectus tried to make sharp objects to help them gather food for their tribe.
Human existence has relied upon daggers to survive through these conflicts and as a method of hunting and eating.
The connection between human determination and survival is easy to identify with the dagger, which has made it one of the most popular tattoo designs throughout history.
However, daggers have not just been about fighting and death. They are also seen as objects at the center of ceremonies, such as their presence in Egyptian occasions where royalty would be equipped with ornate daggers.
Today, the dagger is still a symbol within Jewish communities where they use a dagger to sacrifice the animals they eat.
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In earlier tattoos, the dagger would be a simple form – which many have come back to today. Yet, the dagger tattoo has evolved over time to include different elements and finer details.
Most people will now choose to accompany their dagger tattoo today with images just as fearful as the dagger, such as a skull. Alternatively, they use the dagger to contrast with a beautiful image such as a butterfly or rose.
These additions have helped the dagger tattoo step outside of male circles and also become more popular with women.
The Symbol and Meaning of Dagger Tattoos
Daggers or elementary sharp objects have been a significant part of human existence allowing us to hunt, eat and survive throughout the ages.
This is why many people associate dagger tattoos – when on their own – as a symbol of survival, bravery, mankind, and strength.
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The position of the dagger can also be influential in the tattoo’s meaning. For example, when two daggers are crossed over one another, this can be a sign of friendship and solidarity together.
Sometimes groups or friends will get matching tattoos that incorporate daggers that cross one another for this reason.
The symbol and meaning of dagger tattoos are all highly masculine, which often make them a popular tattoo among men more often than women.
When the dagger is part of a bigger piece incorporating other imagery, the symbol of the dagger tattoo can be different.
Discover the symbol and meaning of dagger tattoos when combined with other images further down this article.
Common Places to Get Dagger Tattoos
Dagger tattoos on their own are often slender designs which means they are most suited to be placed on the limbs of the body.
Most notable places include along the bicep, outer arm and down the back of the calf.
However, dagger tattoos are also placed with a combination of other symbols such as roses, snakes, skulls and hearts – more on these and the meaning of such combinations can be found below.
When the dagger tattoo combined other elements, they are not as slender and may not be as appropriate for placement on limbs, especially if the circumference of the arm or leg is not big enough.
When combined with other design elements, dagger tattoos are also commonly found on the chest, shoulder blade and thigh region.
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Dagger Combination Tattoos and What they Mean
Dagger tattoos are often paired with roses, snakes, skulls, butterflies and hearts. Here is what each of these tattoo pairings mean.
Dagger and Rose Tattoos
Daggers and roses are not two symbols that you would associate with each other easily – and it is this contrast that makes them really popular.
On the one hand, we have a rose that is beautiful, colorful and full of life. On the other, a knife symbolizing death, betrayal, hardship or destruction counters the rose.
The reason and meaning behind this pairing is to highlight the duality of human existence.
Life can have its ups, but it always has its downs as well. This contrast of elements makes the meaning of a dagger and rose tattoo hard-hitting and noticeable.
Snake and Dagger Tattoos
The snake and dagger tattoo is quite unique because unlike other variations, the tattoo remains slender.
The meaning behind such a combination can be vastly different. For some tattoo enthusiasts, snakes and daggers represent healing and are common among medical groups who like their tatts.
The other meaning of snake and dagger tattoos is the Roman God of Mercury. This was the Roman God responsible for sending messages and condemning people to the underworld.
It is another aggressive form of the dagger tattoo, but could also simply show an affinity to Roman mythology.
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Skull and Dagger Tattoos
Skull and dagger tattoos can be some of the most aggressive and masculine tattoos out there. There are many meanings to this tattoo combination.
The more upbeat understanding is that the person is showing that they are no longer scared of death and they have beaten their fear. Another is just death in general with variations on how the dagger and skull interact.
Yet, a more specific interpretation of the skull and dagger tattoo relates to pirates and the Jolly Roger.
When the dagger is placed behind the skull, it is often perceived with an aggressive you must surrender or die message, just like the pirates would have shouted.
Butterfly Knife Tattoos
Earlier it was mentioned that knife tattoos and dagger tattoos often signify masculine traits and are thus chosen by men more than women.
Of course, some women still choose to get dagger tattoos, and this is, even more, the case if the dagger is combined with a more feminine image such as a butterfly.
The butterfly tattoo often symbolizes a change in life or a drastic transformation. Combined with a dagger, this meaning is heightened because it also signifies the death or end of another phase of life.
Heart and Dagger Tattoos
When a dagger image is combined with a heart tattoo, it is often the case that the dagger will pierce the heart to display a broken heart. People choose these tattoos to show that they have been heartbroken or have lost a loved one.
This meaning is intensified with the inclusion of the person’s name, initials or even their birth date – or the date of their loss.
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For some people, the combination of the images can also signify betrayal or the unavoidable ending of death.
It is often the case that the way the two elements interact with each other allows onlookers to understand the meaning behind the tattoo better.
The dagger tattoo and knife tattoos are some of the most interesting designs people choose because of their wealth of meanings and symbolism, especially when combined with other images and tattoos!