Definition of


  1. (noun, act) the practice of making a design on the skin by pricking and staining
  2. (noun, artifact) a design on the skin made by tattooing
  3. (noun, communication) a drumbeat or bugle call that signals the military to return to their quarters
  4. (verb, creation) stain (skin) with indelible color

via WordNet, Princeton University

Alternate forms of Tattoo

Derivations: tattoo

Hypernyms: bugle call, decoration, design, drumbeat, figure, pattern, stain

Origin of the word Tattoo

  1. "signal," 1688, "signal calling soldiers or sailors to quarters at night," earlier tap-to (1644, in order of Col. Hutchinson to garrison of Nottingham), from Du. taptoe, from tap "faucet of a cask" (see tap (2)) + toe "shut." So called because police used to visit taverns in the evening to shut off the taps of casks. Transf. sense of "drumbeat" is re… more
  2. "mark the skin with pigment," 1769 (noun and ver, both first attested in writing of Capt. Cook), from a Polynesian noun (e.g. Tahitian and Samoan tatau, Marquesan tatu "puncture, mark made on skin"). more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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