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See also: Tattoo



  • IPA(key): /tæˈtu(ː)/, [tʰæˈtʰu̟(ː)]

Etymology 1[edit]

A tattoo (image made in skin)

From Samoan tatau ‎(to tap).


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tattoo ‎(plural tattoos)

  1. An image made in the skin with ink and a needle.
  2. A method of decorating the skin by inserting colored substances under the surface. The skin is punctured with a sharp instrument, which now is usually a solenoid-driven needle, that carries the inks to lower layers of the skin.
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tattoo ‎(third-person singular simple present tattoos, present participle tattooing, simple past and past participle tattooed)

  1. To apply a tattoo to (someone or something).
  2. (baseball) To hit the ball hard, as if to figuratively leave a tattoo on the ball.
    Jones tattoos one into the gap in left; that will clear the bases.

Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From earlier tap-to, a borrowing from Dutch taptoe, from tap ‎(tap; faucet on a cask) + toe ‎(to; shut). More at tap, to.


tattoo ‎(plural tattoos)

  1. (nautical) A signal played five minutes before taps (lights out).
  2. A signal by drum or bugle ordering soldiers to return to their quarters.
  3. A military display or pageant.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Hindi tattū.[script needed]


tattoo ‎(plural tattoos)

  1. A breed of pony from India; a pony of that breed.