Swallow Tattoo Meaning

March 8, 2022
Max Stevens

Swallow tattoos are becoming increasingly popular globally. Swallow tattoos have a variety of interpretations, but journey or travel is the most common interpretation of the swallow tattoo.

A swallow tattoo has a fascinating history that started in the early days of sailing in the United Kingdom. Even though the interpretation of the tattoo changed significantly, it constantly conveyed the idea of the sailing experience of the sailor.

Before you attempt to tattoo the swallow on your body, consider the following symbolism and meanings to help yourself to decide. Let’s first dive into the history behind the swallow tattoo.

Swallow Tattoo on Upper Arm

History Behind Swallow Tattoo

Back when there were no modern navigation systems, swallows in the sky signal that sailors were close to the shore. This tattoo became a message for sailors returning home safely to their families.

According to tales, sailors tattooed swallows on their hand, neck or chest and the number of swallows depends on the distance of their journey. Sailors who have one swallow travelled more than 5,000 nautical miles, and a sailor tattooed with two swallows or more implies a highly competent and valued sailor.

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People believed that swallows could take a drowned sailor’s spirit from the depths of the sea to above. Swallows are passerine bird family members and quickly adapt to the environment, which birds may find worldwide.

Cultures in countries such as Austria and Estonia consider swallows associated with rebirth and the beginning of a new start in life. 

What Does the Swallow Tattoo Mean?

This tattoo design became a trend this previous decade since many people like to travel the world. This swallow is one of the unusual tattoos that may relate and appeal to men and women, representing exploration, success, freedom, and commitment.

The swallow bird may also symbolise renewal and a new chance in life. Also, the significance of this tattoo varies based on where it is tattooed.

Here are some different meanings for swallow tattoos.

Swallow Symbolise Exploration

The main feature of swallow tattoos is exploration, many who are adventurous and free spirits for travel and discoveries like this symbol.

As previously said, swallow tattoos can be seen in sailors travelling the seas and oceans. Typically, birds like eagles and hawks are aligned with liberty, but swallows indicate curiosity, interest, and a sense of adventure.

Swallow Symbolise Affection

Swallows are typically linked with people who are expressive with their feelings. The swallow tattoo is ideal for individuals who have a strong sense of empathy with other people.

People with this kind of tattoo are also deeply attached to their family members and friends and wish to show affection, look for them, and safeguard them to avoid danger.

Swallow Symbolise Protection

Swallows symbolise protection for sailors and travellers because they act as a lucky charm and guardian of people travelling in general. Many travellers believe that swallows give them safety and protection while far from home.

Swallow Symbolise Fidelity

The trait of being trustworthy or loyal is referred to as fidelity but with a deeper meaning. It is far more powerful than loyalty itself and builds a solid and unbreakable relationship.

Individuals with a swallow tattoo are not afraid to share this personal trait.

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What Is the Difference Between Sparrow and Swallow Tattoo?

It is easy to get confused between sparrow and swallow tattoos, yet there is a significant distinction between the two. Compared to their size, the swallows are much bigger than the sparrows, and the colours of both species differ significantly.

Swallows have a blue back and a black tail, whereas Sparrows are greyish brown with short wings. In terms of symbols, the swallow represents the sense of curiosity and self-discovery, while sparrows signify victory and overcoming challenges in life.

Ideas for Swallow Tattoo Design

The option for design and styles for swallow tattoos are nearly limitless, and they come in swallows wide range of shapes and colours. Here are some favourite designs for swallow tattoos.

A Single Swallow Tattoo

This tattoo design represents independence and a strong desire to explore and is also the number one choice of travellers. Individuals tattooed it on their shoulder or neck since it has a better view angle. 

A Dual Swallow Tattoo 

Swallows stay together for a lifetime, symbolising the importance of family loyalty and love for each other. Also, two swallows soaring simultaneously in the design is the excellent pair tattoo representing companionship and life experiences.

Swallow Tattoos in Various Colours

The watercolour swallow tattoo can attract those individuals trying to express their bright personalities. To show off your uniqueness as a person, try this design as it gives you a colourful pattern and the significance of the swallow tattoo.

Swallow and Compass Tattoo

This tattoo swallow with compass design is a beautiful representation of the journey and coming home safely. Knowing swallows are migratory birds that travel great distances, this design of swallow tattoo indicates returning home after a challenging life experience.

Swallow Tattoo on hand

Is Swallow Tattoo Acceptable for Both Genders?

Yes, swallow tattoos suit equally for men and women. There are no gender distinctions, and its meaning and symbolism are universal. 

Common Body Areas for Swallow Tattoo

The meaning of the chosen tattoo changes depending on where it is placed on the body. Tattoo concepts test all limits, both creative inventiveness and meaning, proven true in the case of a swallow tattoo. 

The swallow tattoo signifies love and cares for the family, conquering difficulties, and individuality when tattooed on the wrist. 

Big swallow tattoo is perfect at the thighs, back, chest and shoulders. A small swallow tattoo should place it on the forearm, neck, ankle, wrist, feet, calves, and sides of the chest. 

Choose the design and style that will make you happy and best represent you as a person. Keep in mind all the things you understand about the swallow meanings and symbolism before taking your next tattoo.


Max Stevens

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