Teardrop tattoos are one of the most common prison tattoos, though anyone can get one, and they can take on many different meanings.

They are widely recognized as a tattoo people get in prison, often symbolizing someone who has done time in jail, who has been humiliated in some way, someone who has committed murder, or someone who has attempted murder.

If you’re thinking about getting a teardrop tattoo, read more about their symbolism, design ideas, common placements, and more.

Teardrop Tattoo Meaning

What does a teardrop tattoo mean? Common teardrop tattoo meanings include grief and loss, murder and violence, time spent in prison, and individual personal symbolism.

1. Grief and Loss

Teardrop tattoos can represent the wearer’s grief over the loss of a loved one. In this context, the tattoo serves as a permanent reminder of the person they are mourning and their deep emotional pain.

2. Murder and Violence

In some circles, a teardrop tattoo may signify that the wearer has committed murder or been involved in violent acts. This interpretation is particularly prevalent in gang culture, where the tattoo serves as a badge of honor and a sign of loyalty to the group.

3. Time in Prison

Another possible meaning behind a teardrop tattoo is the time an individual has spent in prison. It may symbolize the hardships and experiences they have faced while incarcerated  1 deposit casino canada.com , showcasing their resilience and fortitude.

4. Cultural and Personal Variations

The meaning of a teardrop tattoo can differ significantly depending on the wearer’s cultural background and personal experiences. For some, it may be a deeply personal symbol, while for others, it may hold a more general significance.

Specific Teardrop Tattoo Meanings

Teardrop Tattoo Meaning Right Eye

Source: Just Ink Itkenya.

Teardrop tattoos can be placed under the right eye. Right-eye placements often symbolize the loss of a gang member, close friend, or family member to murder.

Some people may also get the individual’s name or initials tattooed alongside the teardrop in their memory.

Teardrop Tattoo Meaning Left Eye

Teardrop tattoos under the left eye usually mean the person has killed someone. In many cases, they’ve killed someone in jail. These are popular among gang members who will often get one teardrop per person they’ve murdered. So if someone has three teardrops under their left eye, they may have murdered three people.

With the right or the left eye, someone may also get tear ink as a way to speak out against gang violence, gun violence, or other gang-related activity they’ve witnessed or directly suffered from.

Filled In Teardrop Tattoo Meaning

What does a filled in teardrop tattoo mean? A teardrop tattoo that is filled in or solid can mean that the person was successful in attempted murder. Or, the person could start with a teardrop tattoo outline when someone close to them has died, which they then fill in when their death has been avenged.

Some people will get the teardrop outline with a name or initials inside the teardrop, which then gets covered up.

Empty Teardrop Tattoo Meaning

Empty teardrops often mean someone has attempted murder but wasn’t successful. In some cases, it may even symbolize that they’ve been charged with murder and locked up in jail, despite not actually committing the crime.

As mentioned before, empty tears can be in remembrance of a fellow gang member or family member, especially when accompanied by a name or initials.

When empty, the individual may be displaying that they seek vengeance or retribution for the death, which can be seen as an intimidation strategy.

What Does a Teardrop Tattoo Mean on a Woman?

Teardrop tattoos can mean the same thing for men and for women. In other words, they can show that a man or a woman has attempted murder, committed murder, or lost someone to murder. Based on the trends, this seems like the most common symbolism for men.

They can also take on different symbolism, such as showing that someone has gone through a trauma, is suffering, or is in mourning.

For example, a woman may get a teardrop tattoo if she has been a victim of abuse or if she’s gone through a very trying experience.

Or, they could just be a fun design that has a special meaning. When looking at trends, teardrops for sadness, trauma, or just for fun are more common with women.

Finger Teardrop Tattoo Meaning

Tear-shaped ink designs aren’t only for under the eyes. They’re also quite common on fingers, especially for women.

Oftentimes, teardrops will be placed on the inside of the index finger. When you hold your finger up to your eye, like you’re wiping a tear, the teardrop will then be visible right under your eye.

This can be a great option for people who want a teardrop tattoo with the crying or sadness symbolism but who don’t want ink on their face.

Teardrop Tattoo Designs

Teardrop tattoos are tattoos that look like a tear or drop of water. They can be filled in, just an outline, under your right or left eye, or you may even have multiple.

They are typically pretty simple, especially if they’re done in prison. They are shaped like a water droplet and can be more rounded, more oblong, or curved to be shaped similar to a comma.

They may be solid black, just an outline, different colors, filled in with initials, filled in with a design, or paired with a cross or other symbol. If someone has multiple teardrop marks, they could put them in a vertical line or stagger them to look like a natural stream of tears.

1. Empty and Transparent Teardrop Tattoo

Teardrop Tattoo Meaning: What Does a Teardrop Tattoo Mean?

Source: Porcelain Sad Girl.

2. Filled In Teardrop Tattoo

Source: Vicink Tattoos and Monsterprince Art

3. Embellished Teardrops

Some teardrop tattoos are adorned with additional elements, such as names, dates, or other symbols. These embellishments can enhance the meaning of the tattoo, adding a personal touch or highlighting specific events or experiences.

4. Multiple Teardrops Like 2 Teardrop Tattoo

Source: Its Only Skin Tattoo.

As with any tattoo, the design options are nearly endless. You can explore different colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes to create the artwork that makes the most sense for you and your style. Keep in mind, you can also incorporate tattoos into other designs, such as adding a tear to a smiley face.


Teardrop tattoo placements are typically in visible locations to convey a message or signify personal experiences. Common placements include under the eye, near the outer corner of the eye, and behind the ear, though variations exist based on personal preferences.

Celebrities With Teardrops

There are many different rappers, athletes, and other celebrities that have acquired teardrop tattoos. Below are some examples with their unique designs, placements, and meanings. For some celebrities, the teardrop’s meaning is private and not something they’ve shared publicly.

Famous Men With Teardrop Tattoos

  • Lil Wayne: Two curved teardrops under his right eye, one at the left side of his mouth, and one that was under his left eye (later covered up with a tribal symbol at the request of his mother) that he claims symbolize loved ones who have died, though some speculate they could have a darker meaning as he raps about violence and the Bloods.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire: A teardrop outline under his right eye in memory of his brother who passed away in a car accident.
  • Ricardo Quaresma: Two elongated, filled-in teardrops under his right eye with an unknown meaning.
  • The Game: A curved teardrop outline under his left eye, possibly to symbolize rapper friends he has lost to gun violence.

Famous Women With Teardrop Tattoos

  • Lena Dunham: Black teardrop outline on the inside of her left finger.
  • Noah Cyrus: Blue tear with a black outline on her left index finger to symbolize the song “Make Me (Cry)” that kicked off her music career.
  • Melanie Martinez: Large blue teardrop with a black outline on her right forearm to celebrate her album Crybaby.
  • Kreayshawn: A small elongated black teardrop outline on each index finger.
    Sky Ferreira: A small black outline of a teardrop on her index finger when Lil Wayne was jailed in 2010 for possessing a weapon.
  • Linda Perry: A teardrop tattoo outline just below her left eye.

Teardrop Tattoo Pros and Cons

Tattoos are permanent and can be difficult and painful to remove. However, they are a great way to express yourself, add artwork to your body, and can even be therapeutic. If you have other tattoos, you likely know the drill. But if it’s your first tattoo, you should think through all of the pros and cons before getting inked.

Teardrop Tattoo Pros

Teardrop tattoos can have a special meaning that allows a person to remember someone, express a loss they’ve experienced, share part of their story, showcase their emotions, or just add a mark to their body that they like.

Some tattoo enthusiasts like the pain and discomfort, treating the tattooing experience like a release or something therapeutic.

Teardrop tattoos are often small and simple, so they can be a tattoo design that is quick and easy to get. So if you’re hesitant, a small teardrop outline on your finger could be a great fit.

On the flip side, if you have several tattoos, a dark teardrop on your face could be an artistic addition to your ink collection.

Teardrop Tattoo Cons

There are also some potential negatives about tattoos to think about. Tattoos are permanent (unless you’re willing to go through the process of getting them removed).

They can be painful, so be conscious of that if you have a very low pain tolerance. Teardrop tattoos also have special considerations if you get one on your face.

Face tattoos are difficult to hide and highly visible to those around you. If you have any hesitations, consider waiting or getting it on another area of your body.

You should also think about the common meanings of teardrop tattoos. Some people will see the teardrop and immediately think it immediately marks a gang member or someone who has murdered someone else. If how other people perceive your tattoos is a worry, keep this in mind.


It’s essential to take care of the tattoo during the healing stage. Always consult a healthcare professional if you notice any signs of infection. Here are some tips to help you care for your tattoo:

  1. Keep the bandage on: Your artist will typically cover your new tattoo with a bandage or plastic wrap. Keep this on for the recommended time, usually between 2 to 24 hours. Follow your artist’s specific instructions on when to remove the bandage.
  2. Gently clean the tattoo: After removing the bandage, wash your hands thoroughly and then gently clean the tattoo with (lukewarm) water and fragrance-free soap. Use your fingers to gently rub the area, removing any blood, ink, or ointment. Do not use a washcloth, sponge, or any abrasive materials.
  3. Pat dry: Gently pat the tattoo dry with a clean, disposable paper towel. Do not rub the area, as this can cause irritation.
  4. Apply a thin layer of ointment: Use a recommended tattoo aftercare ointment or a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic lotion to keep the tattoo moisturized. Apply a thin layer to the tattoo, avoiding over-saturating the area. Over-moisturizing can hinder the healing process.
  5. Keep it clean and moisturized: Clean and moisturize the tattoo at least twice a day, or as recommended by your tattoo artist, for the first two weeks. Always wash your hands before touching the tattoo.
  6. Avoid soaking and sun exposure: During the healing process, avoid soaking your tattoo in water. This means avoiding baths, swimming pools, hot tubs, and saunas. Also, protect the tattoo from direct sunlight, as UV rays can cause the ink to fade and damage the skin.
  7. Avoid picking and scratching: As your tattoo heals, it will likely scab and become itchy. Do not pick at or scratch the tattoo, as this can lead to ink loss and scarring.
  8. Wear loose clothing: To prevent irritation and friction on the tattoo, wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing over the tattooed area during the healing process.

Summary: Should You Get a Teardrop Tattoo?

There are many different meanings to teardrop tattoos. They can be a prison tattoo showing a trial someone has faced in jail. They could symbolize mourning of the death of a loved one. Or they could be something as simple as a fun design that has no deep meaning.

Consider why you’re thinking about a teardrop tattoo and what it could mean to you. From there, think through the logistics of getting a tattoo, placement, and your final design, and work on finding a trustworthy tattoo artist to get your ink done with confidence.

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