What does a teardrop tattoo mean? And an upside down one? Learn all there is about this tattoo design

by Kristiyana

Thinking about getting a new tattoo? Well, just be sure not to get the teardrop tattoo on your face. Or at least not until you know about its true meaning…. The teardrop tattoo has always attracted the attention of people. Maybe that is because no one can undoubtedly confirm what the real meaning of it is? Or the meaning itself is just too shocking for some. Whatever the case, be sure you will find out all you need to know about the teardrop tattoo in this article!

What is the meaning of the teardrop tattoo?


This tattoo, which is often placed underneath the eye of the wearer, can have many different meanings according to its design and placement. The tattoo itself is most widely recognized as a prison tattoo, as a lot of men who have done time have it on their faces. But what does it really mean? Here are some of the potential meanings of the teardrop face tattoo:

Teardrop on the left side of the face

As mentioned, the placement of the teardrop ink on the face can also vary in meaning. In United States prisons, a teardrop on the left side may mean that the wearer has killed someone. But of course, there is no 100% confirmation if this is what it really means.

Having the tattoo on your right side



Now on the right side, the meaning of this small ink art can signify loss of a family member or close friend. Rapper Lil Wayne has a teardrop tattoo on his right side, and has spoken about how this tattoo relates to the loss of a friend.

Filled-in with solid ink vs. outline

Not only the placement, but the look of the tattoo itself can vary in meaning. Word is, that a filled-in design with solid ink represents a committed murder. On the other hand, just an outline of a teardrop means that the murder was only attempted, but not carried out to completion.

Or in other cases, an empty outline can be associated with a friend or fellow gang member who died. And when filled in, the wearer sought out revenge for this.

Teardrop tattoo worn by women


Again concerned with the world of prison, this tattoo design is also sometimes worn by women whose husbands or boyfriends are doing time. It’s considered a form of solidarity with them. As an example, famous singer Amy Winehouse had a teardrop drawn on her face when her husband Blake Fielder-Civil entered a prison hospital.

Upside down teardrop tattoo meaning

The meaning behind the upside down teardrop tattoo does not differ much from the rest. It again signifies that the wearer has spent time in prison. Also, it can be a mark that he was humiliated while doing time in some way, and the humiliator branded him with this tattoo as his own “property”. As facial tattoos cannot be concealed, the wearer will always have to wear his shame.

Other trivia about teardrop tattoos


Rapper The Game also has a tattooed teardrop on his face, which signifies the loss of a friend. As well as, basketball player Amar’e Stoudemire who lost his older brother and saw this tattoo as a way of honouring him.

In the culture of the USA West coast gang, the teardrop tattoo can tell if the wearer has committed murder.

And often the meaning of this tattoo design might be left a mystery. Portuguese footballer Ricardo Quaresma has never told about the origin of his teardrop tattoo.

All in all, before reaching for that ink, it’s best to know about the meaning of the tattoo design you want to get. You don’t want to end up like some of the TikTokers who got the upside down pineapple tattoo without knowing about its scandalous meaning… But yes, back to teardrop tattoos. Once this ink art used to represent doing time in prison. However, nowadays, the tattoo can be seen as quite tacky as some celebrities and young people are getting it just to try to look edgy.

It is still considered a popular prison tattoo. And as already said, people who have experienced the loss of someone close to them are choosing this tattoo as a way to remember their loved ones. All things considered, now you know all there is about the teardrop tattoo and its many meanings. So think twice before getting it!

Embedded image

Copy code to embed the image: Big picture: Small picture: BB-Code: