Compass tattoos – meaning and fantastic design ideas for men

by Kremy

Compass and palm trees tattoo on forearm

The compass is considered to be one of the most necessary inventions that helped a person to develop, conquer and discover new lands. Even nowadays this device has not lost its importance, it appears on logos very often, identifies brands and of course is used for its intended purpose. Compass tattoos enjoy a great popularity among men and women.

Because of its ancient heritage, compass has a special place in the world of tattoos. In the past, it was a classic tattoo for sailors but nowadays it is also used as a symbol by people looking for luck and success, guidance and support. Compass can have many different meanings for different people. The image can be represented in a different way and style – like an old pocket compass or the North Star, a 3D design or completely abstract with clear lines. The compass can be combined with other popular tattoo designs – map of the world, stars, flowers, feathers, sand clock or marine symbols such as ship, anchor, lighthouse, rope, etc. We’ll look at some of the most common meanings and variations of compass tattoo designs.


Compass tattoos meaning

unique forearm tattoos for men compass sea wave


Compass tattoos are especially valued by lovers of marine or military life and among all those familiar with the symbolism of this image. Here are some of the most popular meaning of compass tattoos:

  • Direction and hope – the compass tattoo was used by sailors because their life and fate depended entirely on it and if the compass was lost or broken, the ship and crew remained helpless at sea. The tattoo was, and still is, a symbol of the hope of finding the way and returning home. The compass gives a feeling of security for our direction and indicates the path, the road and adventure. Many people use the image to symbolize that they will stay on the right path when they face difficulties and challenges. The compass can also be connected to the northern star because its placement remains static and reliable. Many travelers choose this image as a symbol to the return way home. Compass tattoos can be decorated with stars and globes to enhance this meaning. It is worth adding that the compass may indicate the thorny and difficult path of its owner.
  • Protection and security – many people choose a compass tattoo as a protective charm due to the fact that it is an ancient symbol of safety and stability.
  • Luck and inspiration – The compass can also be used as a luck charm. Often, it is used as a symbol of luck as other symbols, such as horseshoes. The compass always points to the north and many people see it as a sign of inspiration at times of need.
  • Changes – a compass without direction indicator is a useless compass. One with a broken or wildly rotating arrow may show uncertainty or confusion. A compass with a long chain can mean affection. For example, a chain attached to a compass and a religious symbol mean that the person finds his way from religion.

cool watercolor compass arm tattoo design

  • Loyalty, determination and love of adventure – this is the meaning that some designs express. The man knows what he wants and despite the love for travel and adventure, he will be faithful to his chosen one. Loyalty to the principles and ideals, not deviating from his course and path, achieving goals at any cost – these meanings are also typical for tattoos with a compass.
  • The compass can be used as a focal point or accessory to another symbol that only increases its potential. Compass is associated with persistence. It can mean balance and stability as well. The compass can be used by a wide variety of people, so additional decoration can be useful for showing deeper meaning. Fish, globes, anchors and other ocean symbols can be used to show the love and connection with the sea. Mountains, trees, axes, boots and other images can be used to show the love of tourism and outdoors. Dice, horseshoes, four leaf clover and other luck symbols are usually combines with a compass as charms for success.

Summarizing the above, we have to point out that tattoos with compass have a deep symbolism. They emphasize the best qualities of a person, such as dedication, loyalty, determination, persistence, strength of mind and knowledge, etc. There are many options for compass tattoo designs and hidden meanings. Be sure to explore the history before you go to the studio. Your tattoo artist will be able to help you as well.Since the meanings can be very personal, you should feel free to determine which unique touches will make your compass tattoo really yours.


Which body parts are suitable for compass tattoos?

maps compass chest and shoulder tattoo

Compass tattoos are interesting and always attract attention. This is one of the few symbols that have no negative interpretations and whose meaning will always remain positive. They can be made in a variety of styles and everyone can choose as per his personal taste and preferences.

The logical location for such a tattoo is an open part of the body where it is visible – forearm, hand or wrist. Some men choose the calf or the shoulder. Tattoos on the chest are also popular since this is the place of human heart and pulse. If you want to focus on the emotional fullness of the picture, the compass should be placed next to the heart. Compass on the back, for example the shoulder blade, is a symbol of the intuitive search for direction. The most difficult place to apply any tattoo, including a compass, is armpits.

Look at the fantastic compass tattoo design ideas in the gallery below which can inspire you for your own unique drawing!



unique tattoos for men compass

unique compass tattoo design ideas for men in different styles

masculine tattoo ideas for men compass and maps on forearm

lighthouse bird and compass shoulder tattoo ideas for men

forearm tattoo ideas roses and compass for men

forearms black and white compass and telescope tattoo ideas for men

Compass tattoos meaning fantastic design ideas

compass tattoo forearm tattoo ideas for men

Compass flying bird and feather forearm tattoo design ideas

compass and map tattoo original tattoo designs

compass and map forearm tattoo for men

compass and map forearm ideas for men


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