Snake and Dagger Tattoo Meaning: A Symbol of Determination

March 7, 2022
Max Stevens

The snake and dagger tattoo meaning and imagery is one of the most recognisable tattoo symbols and meanings around, and it has a very intriguing and dangerous appeal to it. 

This tattoo design is one of the staples of traditional American tattooing, as are snakes and daggers by themselves. 

So, before we start analysing the potential meanings of the dagger and snake combined, we should first familiarise ourselves with the meaning of these two symbols alone.

What Does a Dagger Symbolise

A dagger tattoo can symbolise several things, and the meaning naturally depends on the personal association of the wearer. 

Firstly, it can stand as a symbol of courage against adversity, representing the willingness to fight in the face of dangers and tribulations. 

It can also mean the fight itself, which can either be an internal conflict, any form of physical confrontation, or any other symbolic type of fight or struggle. 

Finally, a dagger tattoo can also symbolise betrayal or treachery, and since it’s a lethal weapon, a dagger can also represent death.

Related Read: Death Moth Tattoo Meaning

Dagger Tattoo on Arm

What Does a Snake Symbolise

Serpents have been used as powerful symbols since the dawn of time. 

Multiple ancient cultures utilised the snake symbol for various meanings, and it was frequently associated with wisdom. These creatures were also viewed as carriers of sacred insight.

Since serpents are capable of shedding their skin, they were also closely associated with renewal and rebirth.

Another important snake symbol is the ouroboros. The image of a snake eating its tail first originated in Ancient Egypt, and it represents the cyclical nature of the universe and the continuing connection between life and death 

Some African and South American traditions also have their versions of the ouroboros. 

The snake was also an important symbol in Ancient Greece, where the god of medicine, Asclepius, was depicted holding a staff entwined with a snake.

The Rod of Asclepius (also known as the Asklepian) remains a commonly used symbol of medicine and healing. 

The serpent symbol drastically changed in Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), closely associated with temptation, evil, sin, lust and sexual desire. 

Snake tattoo on hand

Snake and Dagger Tattoo Meaning

As you can see, both the dagger and snake symbols have multiple meanings, but let’s check out what they can mean when they’re used together. 

If the tattoo depicts a dagger piercing or stabbing the snake, this design usually signifies an overall determination to overcome various obstacles in life.

These obstacles can be the basic struggles of life, or the snake can represent internal issues to overcome. 

This design can also symbolise the balance of life or that life has constant difficulties that need to be addressed.

Finally, if the snake is twisted around the dagger, this symbol can be a nod to Mercury or Hermes, as both the Roman and Greek gods carried a Caduceus, a magical wand entwined with snakes. 

Dagger and Snake Best Placements

Because of its elongated shape, the dagger and snake tattoo is an excellent fit for both shoulders and forearms, but if the design is large enough, it can also look amazing on thighs or calves. 

Dagger and Snake Colorways 

This design is usually tattooed in the traditional American style, which means a lot of vivid colours and intricate details. 

The dagger and snake tattoo can also look fantastic in all-black style, with beautiful shading.


Max Stevens

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