15 American Traditional Tattoo Ideas with Meaning

Once you get tatted, the imprint remains with you forever. Tattoos are inked designs that are made on the body for decorative purposes. A tattoo is the only thing that an individual carries with himself to the grave. They hold ample importance in the life of an individual. All tattoos have meanings. Since it is something of a lifetime, people usually spend a lot of time deciding what tattoo design they should get inked on their body. If you come across some popular American traditional tattoo, you will be astonished to know the significance of each design. Selecting an American traditional tattoo design is a difficult task. It should be beautiful and should impart a story at the same time.

Knowing the tattoos’ meanings that you are planning to get prevents you from being blindsided and helps you make the right choice before getting inked. Discussed below are some of the most popular traditional tattoos ideas and the significance they hold:

15 American Traditional Tattoo Ideas with Meaning

Given below are some popular and best American traditional tattoo designs that people usually like to have.

1. Neo American Traditional Tattoo:

Neo-traditional tattoo style

Neo-traditional tattoos have been in trend for a long time and have gradually evolved over the years. The appearance of these American traditional tattoos varies largely, as they symbolize a vast range of things. The Americans take much pride in these motifs. In modern times, these tattoos are used to represent different objects of global significance. These tattoo style have thick borders and use bright colours. However, they make it a point to maintain the traditional essence of the American style.

2. Rose American Traditional Tattoo:

Rose traditional tattoo style

Rose is just as popular an American traditional tattoo as a flower. Rose is considered a symbol of love, passion, and balance. While on the one hand, the flower expresses joy and positivity; it comes with thorns that remind us of the hardships that coexist in life. As we know, the flower comes in different shapes, sizes, and colours. According to the plethora of cultures associated with the different roses, they have different significances. For instance, the white rose stands for purity, red roses express passion or stand as a memorial of a sacrifice, pink roses represent innocence or healing, and so on.

3. Flower American Traditional Tattoo:

Flower traditional tattoo style

Floral American traditional tattoos are quite fashionable, chic, and trendy. Different kinds of floral designs idea make up great tattoo designs that withhold significant meaning and significance to the bearer of the tattoo. American traditional tattoo is known for its vibrant colours. The colours help to bring out the significance of the flowers more prominently. For instance, a red flower depicts passion, and a white flower depicts purity. While a violet flower symbolizes timidity and shyness, yellow flowers show jealousy. Therefore, for anyone willing to choose a floral tattoo that will have an impactful meaning, there are plenty of options to choose from.

4. Eagle Body Art American Traditional Tattoo:

Eagle body art traditional tattoo style

An eagle is an emblem of power, wisdom, and spirituality. It is important to note that the eagle is the national bird of America. It has been associated with various American cultures since time immemorial. Eagles also find their way into American traditional tattoo designs. An eagle symbolizes focus and courage; it also depicts mighty force, beauty, and purity.

5. Skull Traditional Tattoo Style:

Skull traditional tattoo style

A skull is quite popular in tattoo design in America. The American traditional tattoo designs flaunt skull designs in various forms. It is a rebel’s hallmark that has passed down the generations and has still not lost its charm. Be it a skull embedded with roses or a grim reaper; skull tattoos are never out of fashion. However, skulls are not only morbid. They also symbolize positive aspects like protecting values, overcoming obstacles, and optimistic ideas.

6. Swallow Traditional Tattoo Style:

Swallow traditional tattoo style

Swallows are of special significance to sailors and voyagers. These birds do not travel far out to the sea, so a glimpse of these birds would impart a ray of hope, carrying a message that the land was near. Swallow is a popular American traditional tattoo art. There are a number of ideas and significance associated with swallow tattoos. These birds represent affection, care, and love. They also carry the idea of the loyalty of a person. The swallow represents homeward direction. Therefore there is a sense of security associated with a swallow tattoo as tradition.

7. Military Traditional Tattoo Style:

Military traditional tattoo style

For those who have served in the military, tattoos have always been a part of their lives. These military American traditional tattoos are personal and tell personal stories. Military tattoos often serve as memorials of important incidents, times, places, and people. They celebrate passion.

8. Dagger Traditional Tattoo Style:

Dagger traditional tattoo style

Due to their importance and significance, daggers are an important part of the American traditional tattoo catalogue. Daggers represent virtuous qualities as well as the adversities that one might experience in life. It is an emblem of betrayal, loss, danger, protection, bravery, and sacrifice at the same time. The real essence of a dagger tattoo is multidimensional, depending on the owner and under what circumstances the owner had the tattoo. Sometimes dagger tattoos are juxtaposed with other elements such as roses, a heart, or a skull- an idea that depicts good and bad coexistence.

9. Owl Traditional Tattoo Style:

Owl traditional tattoo style

Owl is a popular American traditional tattoo choice. They come in various shapes and sizes and have a fascinating design. Owl tattoos create a sense of awe among the people. Owls are an amalgamation of both foolish and wise. Owls also have an association with birth, death, witchcraft, medicine, and weather. Some people are impressed by the ambiguity that is associated with owls. The fact that owls can see in the dark is linked with the ability of a person to foresee unprecedented situations. Owls are also mysterious animals. They are an emblem of the purity of the soul and are therefore called the guardians of the sacred. Due to all these reasons, owl tattoos are gaining massive popularity among people of all age groups.

10. Snake Traditional Tattoo Style:

Snake traditional tattoo style

Snakes, although associated with sinister and impulsive assets, are a representation of fertility. As they shed their skin, snakes depict transformation, rebirth, immortality, and healing. In different cultures, snakes are believed to be sacred. The native Americans associate the rattlesnake with lightning and rain. A snake is also believed to have both masculine’s and feminine attributes, due to which both men and women can wear it. Ancient beliefs also state that snakes played a role in the creation of planets. Due to all these reasons, snakes are a popular American traditional tattoo choice.

11. Panther Traditional Tattoo Style:

Panther traditional tattoo style

If you want your tattoo to be a timeless classic that will never go out of fashion, a panther tattoo is exactly what you need. A traditional American tattoo that depicts a panther goes a long way in symbolizing power, stamina, virility, and strength. Sometimes, a panther tattoo also depicts the hunter who plays the silent stalker of the magnificent beast. Panther traditional tattoos show ferocious images of the animal that have a masculine build. A tattoo with the bloody claws and open jaws of a tiger is a symbol of the savagery of the beast. On the other hand, a crawling panther shows the intricacy of technique that one requires to overpower an enemy.

12. Bear Traditional Tattoo Style:

Bear traditional tattoo style

Bear is a ferocious animal that depicts power, wrath, and untameable fear. On the other hand, a bear also symbolizes love, tenderness, and family harmony. They are a perfect amalgamation of good and bad. In the American traditional tattoo idea, a bear is associated with masculine power, strength, and authority. However, a bear, which is seen nurturing her cubs, can also be seen as an embodiment of motherly love and care.

13. Lighthouse Traditional Tattoo Style:

Lighthouse traditional tattoo style

One of the fascinating American traditional tattoo designs, a lighthouse is a symbol of charity and strength. Stretching high into the sky, a lighthouse is a steadfast figure that withstands the sea’s tumultuous waves. A lighthouse ensures the safety of the sailors and ships. A lighthouse symbolizes loyalty and strength. It is also an emblem of stability. Grounded firmly into the earth, a lighthouse actually shows the direction to the ships that set sail on a sea. Therefore, it can be said that a lighthouse symbolizes strength, reliability, and stability. A person who wants to express his care and concern for the family and emerge as a reliable family man can get a lighthouse tattoo.

14. Anchor Traditional Tattoo Style:

Anchor traditional tattoo style

The significance of anchors dates back to thousands of years. The moment we think of an anchor, it reminds us of a sailor’s hope of returning safely to his home. But for an anchor, a ship might get lost in the vast sea. Therefore, an anchor design of the American traditional tattoo is a depiction of protection. Anchors are dependable and reliable objects. One can comprehend the meaning of an anchor tattoo in a variety of ways!

15. Shark Traditional Tattoo Ttyle:

Shark traditional tattoo style

A much-feared predator of the marine world, sharks is a subject of awe. They signify the epitome of strength, speed, and bloodlust. Due to these characteristics, sharks are accepted as a mascot by all ambitious individuals. In the list of American traditional tattoos, shark tattoos hold an important position. They impart strength to the owner and inspire them to achieve their goals. Sharks also symbolize superiority over others. This talisman is usually preferred by businessmen, who single-handedly manage the functioning of an entire organization. It also encourages an individual to take up new challenges.


These kinds of American traditional tattoos are an individual chooses impacts his attitude. A tattoo also speaks volumes about a person’s personality. For instance, a minimalist floral tattoo suits a rather timid and shy person. On the other hand, a bold eagle tattoo is best suited for an outspoken and courageous individual who is always ready to welcome new life challenges. Deciding what tattoo to get is a brainstorming task. Once done, it is incorrigible. Tattoo removal is a painful and expensive process. If you are unsure about what American traditional tattoo to get, consult your tattoo artist, tell him about your likes and dislikes, and count on him for the rest. Happy inking!