Barbed Wire Tattoo Meanings and 60+ Awesome Ideas

Learn the surprising barbed wire tattoo meaning before you get it on a body. As a bonus, we've added more than 60 unusual ideas for inspiration.

The popular barbed wire tattoo is covered with certain prejudices and “hidden meanings.” A person, who will have to take this image in spirit, should have an idea about its interpretation. But it should not be believed entirely, as each such tattoo will have a different meaning: for men β€” independence, for women β€” confidence, and for teenagers β€” freedom from parents.

After reading this article, you will know the general meaning of the barbed wire tattoo in the world and what it means in combination with a heart, a rose, or a butterfly. And also about its symbolism on different parts of the body.

You can also read about amazing traditional tattoos and their meanings and find more than 50 ideas for inspiration.

Barbed Wire Tattoo Meaning

Barbed wire is an unusual and widespread tattoo nowadays β€” it can perform a decorative function and carry a specific meaning. Such tattoos are associated with prohibition and restriction. It used to be attached to the top of the fence to prevent intruders from entering the territory. Or vice versa, not to go beyond it.

With the development of various informal movements, a tattoo with its image has become very common among young people. Fans of heavy rock and goths applied it. The popularity of subcultures remained in the past, but the barbed wire tattoo is still in demand.

General Meaning

Barbed wire, like a tattoo, originated in the criminal world. Prisoners used it to count their time outside of freedom: each spike symbolized one year of imprisonment. Such a tattoo was a secret symbol of the prison world. When people were released from jail, it was the symbol by which they recognized others like them. It is no longer used to prevent escapes, and the image is no longer criminal.

Barbed wire tattoo meaning

But over time, it somewhat changed the attitude to the true meaning of the tattoo, so by combining different bright elements, the master gets a colorful picture that attracts attention.

Barbed wire tattoos are applied by young people who have come of age. With it, they show that they finally broke free and are no longer bound by parental prohibitions. Also, the tattoo can reflect its owner’s “barbed” character. Such people guard their personal space and, most of the time, are in themselves.

The barbed wire can warn you not to get into the person’s soul. The owners of such a tattoo do not like to share their personal lives with others. So they can stop the interlocutor in rough form, infringing on intimate topics.

Meaning for Men

Men decorate their bodies with barbed wire to express their independence. Such men do not like to play by other people’s rules and value their freedom. The tattoo indicates that the man has a pronounced individuality and does not depend on the opinion of others.

Flowers wrapped around a wire symbolize a man’s sensitive nature. With such a tattoo, young men report that their outward behavior does not match their inner world. The harsh reality forced them to be rude and unfeeling. You can only learn about the true character of such a man by getting to know him better. Skull, entwined with barbed wire, indicates the loss of a loved one. Sometimes such a tattoo is supplemented by a name inscription.

Also, take a look at the trendy arm tattoo ideas for men that you will never regret.

Meaning for Women

The image of barbed wire on a woman’s body speaks of love for freedom and hatred of restrictions. Such a tattoo adorns the body of independent and self-confident women. Together with a rose, such tattoos for girls mean innocence. Owners of such a tattoo report their impregnability and purity. Such a symbol can mean that a girl is looking for a lover with whom she will spend her life.

A bird holding a barbed wire represents wish fulfillment for women. In such a tattoo, it symbolizes the obstacles it is necessary to pass to achieve the goal. Girls apply the barbed wire bracelet as a protection against the aggression of the surrounding world. 

For more unhackneyed and unique women’s thigh tattoos, see our article.

Barbed Wire Heart Tattoo

Barbed wire heart tattoo

If a wire is wrapped around a heart from which drops of blood flow, it indicates disappointment in love, betrayal, and heartache. Two hearts wrapped around a wire indicate a strong relationship, and the wire symbolizes protection from envious people.

If a heart is depicted on a person’s body, blazing in flames and wrapped with barbed wire in the form of a crown of thorns, it speaks of great compassion, of love. Mercy and forgiveness of the world are invested in such a rendering of the picture.

Barbed Wire Butterfly Tattoo

Barbed wire butterfly tattoo

This kind of drawing will appeal to many people because it has a special meaning. A barbed wire butterfly tattoo is a simple and elegant way to show the world that you have changed for the better through your experience.

We all run into challenges in life. And such a tattoo can remind its owner that everything that happens in our lives is necessary to help us become who we are.

A butterfly tattoo with barbed wire means how strong and resilient you can remain when faced with problems or challenges in your life.

Barbed Wire Rose Tattoo

A rose tattoo with barbed wire can have many meanings. One of the most typical uses of such a tattoo is to represent love and romance, but it can also mean friendship, beauty, or even death.

Some see such a drawing as a sign of strength and overcoming adversity β€” as the rose manages to squeeze through the dense and prickly barbed wire.

In addition, a tattoo with a rose can have criminal significance. For men, this tattoo means β€œmet adulthood in prison”. That is, a man was serving a sentence in a colony for juvenile offenders. Most often, this tattoo is located on the arm or collarbone.

Also, “rose in the keys of the wire” is sometimes applied to women. They have it simply means that its owner served time in prison.

Barbed Wire Arm Tattoo

The barbed wire tattoo on the arm can be placed on both the biceps and the wrist. Any gender can use these locations to position the draw. There are many variations, such as a classic wire bracelet or a snake of barbed wire wrapped around the arm.

On Wrist

A snake-shaped bracelet or wire will look best on your wrist.

Male soldiers often leave a barbed wire tattoo on their wrists with images of country flags. The talisman serves as a reminder of service.

Male soldiers

On Bicep

For many, the barbed wire represents the crown of the thorns Jesus wore as he struggled with the cross to being crucified. Thus, a strip of barbed wire around the bicep or wrist can be a daily reminder of faith and how Jesus suffered and died for humanity.

A barbed wire tattoo can also allude to World War II and prisoners of war. This meaning is still relevant to today’s conflicts, as many soldiers choose a barbed wire tattoo to denote their time in combat. By getting this tattoo around your biceps, you will represent your strength in overcoming the adversity you face while engaged in war.

A barbed wire tattoo can also allude to World War II and prisoners of war.

A tattoo of a “thorn” around the biceps can also demonstrate a person’s fierceness.

A tattoo of a "thorn" around the biceps can also demonstrate a person's fierceness.

Barbed Wire Neck Tattoo

Barbed wire neck tattoo

The barbed wire tattoo looks very extravagant on the neck. Such a draw can mean enslavement by something or someone or deprivation of freedom. The person has escaped from these chains if wires are breaking.

Also, such a tattoo on the body can mean the fear of death to its bearer. 

Popular Ideas of Barbed Wire Tattoos

Here are some more stunning barbed wire tattoo ideas for your inspiration! ?


You can often hear the question: what is the barbed wire tattoo meaning? We have dealt with many cases in our article. For example, a sketch made with a heart can speak of great love. The thorns bruised the heart β€” a significant loss. A torn metal wire β€” the end of a difficult stage of life. The owner desires to live peacefully if a bird or flower pulls it. Composition with a flag β€” the bearer of the picture served in the army abroad. With a cross β€” the owner will defend his rights to the end.

Most often, place the image barbed wire on the biceps, where it completely encircles the hand like a bracelet. However, application variants on other body parts are also possible. 


🀬 Is a Barbed Wire Tattoo Offensive?

Tattoos, their offensiveness, danger, and meaning are a very controversial topic. Some people tattoo them for beauty, others are trying to show their individuality, and others are trying to reveal their inner world with the help of images. Because tattoos can have different interpretations in different parts of the world, one should be careful in their choice.

🌟 When Was the Barbed Wire Tattoo Popular?

Firstly, prisoners applied the first barbed wire tattoos in Soviet prisons during Stalin’s rule (1934-1953). They represented the years spent behind bars or the number of “cases” committed. In America in the 1990s, this type of tattoo was popularized by actress Pamela Anderson. She put barbed wire on her arm to film the movie “Barbed Wire” with the same name.

πŸ’₯ What Is the Meaning of Barbed Wires?

Initially, barbed wire tattoos had criminal significance. Prisoners tattooed them on their bodies to count off their years of incarceration. Now the barbed wire has taken on other meanings as well. Barbed wire tattoos are applied by young people who have come of age. With it, they show that they finally broke free and are no longer bound by parental prohibitions. Also, the tattoo can reflect its owner’s “barbed” character.

😈 What Does a Thorns Tattoo Mean??

The meaning of a tattoo with thorns usually depends on the bearer’s purpose, often symbolizing passive aggression and closeness from others. The symbolism here is quite apparent: spikes protect against rude intrusion into a person’s personal space. The thorns that pierce the skin from the inside can represent the personality’s contradictions and inner chaos, as well as the desire to show β€” inside each person lurks a monster, ready to break free at any moment.


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