Symbolic Knife Meanings
for Tattoo Ideas

meaningful Knife tattoo ideas

Knife Tattoo Ideas

Knife tattoo ideas could convey a countless concepts...from devotion to military obligation to expressing the sharp edge of betrayal.

Most of my friends with knife tattoos tell me they got them when they were young. These tattoos often signify a lost love, and the knife conveys a cold, steely pain encountered with having been cut by the brutality of a lovers neglect or betrayal. In this scenario, we could also say a tattooed knife could symbolize a "cutting away" from a bad relationship - slicing through the trauma & difficulties caused by a lover and becoming liberated from the drama of a dysfunctional relationship.

Many times a knife tattoo can express a feeling of sacrifice. This conveyance is ancient, and deeply rooted in many religious/spiritual sects in which sacrifices have been (and still are in some cases) practiced for eons. Do you find yourself in a position of intense sacrifice? Do you hold to a singular devotion, faith or purpose that you would die for? An ornate, glistening knife tattoo might be something to consider to outwardly express that kind of intensity.

Interestingly, in Buddhist symbology the knife often represents cutting the ties of materialism. Are you vehemently against consumerism? Do you find materialism is the bane of your existence, holding you back from true freedom and enlightenment? In this sense, a knife may be an appropriate way to galvanize the act of liberating oneself from the binding ties of materialistic urge and greed.

When I think of knives, and knife tattoos, I think of the suit of swords in the Tarot. This esoteric suit represents challenges, usually wrought from mental nuances like doubt, fear, worry. In a cavalcade of (often tormented) archetypes in these cards, we see a constant struggle to slice through confusion. The knife in these cards symbolizes the double-edged nature of the mind.

Here are some at-a-glance symbolic keywords to augment your own research into knife tattoo ideas...

Symbolic Knife Meanings

  • Pain
  • Skill
  • Ritual
  • Revenge
  • Freedom
  • Duality
  • Betrayal
  • Solitude
  • Strategy
  • Sacrifice
  • Authority
  • Steely Resolve
  • Sharp Intellect
  • Accomplishment
  • Flawless Clarity
  • Singularity in Focus
  • Military duty/service

The mind can be a remarkable representative of clarity and can expertly slice through befuddlement. Simultaneously, the mind can be a true enemy, turning and stabbing its owner in the back. I suspect a larger indwelling presence is designed to navigate the strokes of a knife. But, until we can all commune with that presence, a knife might be an apropos tattoo to express that dual nature of the mind - both helpful and potentially cruel.

I love knives, and used to collect them - I never really knew why - they just gravitated to my curiosity. Much later, I invested some time in understanding why blades appealed to me. It's their cleanliness, the shine, their ability to carve through metaphorical crap. So utilitarian, yet so beautiful and elegant. A magnificent, multi-purpose tool - that, when well-crafted could also be a work of art.

So you see, the knife, as with any tattoo - is most profound when we assign our own understanding to it.

I hope you have enjoyed these thoughts on the symbolic meaning of knife tattoos. Take some time to consider what the knife represents to you. Because of my odd enchantment with blades, I've written more about the symbolism of them (swords). Check it out more information by clicking on the links at the end of this page.

An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings

Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.

This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."

Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)

As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!


Animal Symbols
Astrology Signs
Celtic Symbols
Chinese Symbols
Dream Symbols
Lucky Symbols
Love Signs
Native American Symbols
Nature Symbols
Number Meanings
Tattoo Meanings

click links below for symbolic meanings.