32 Semicolon Tattoos That Represent a Powerful Message

Getty/Stefania D'Alessandro
Getty/Stefania D'Alessandro

For some people, getting a new tattoo is no big deal; for others, it requires months of planning. Oftentimes there is a larger meaning behind a tattoo and what it symbolizes, and a lot of thought goes into making a decision on the image that will be inked onto your body forever, which is why so many people choose to get tattoos that have significant meaning.

There are many different inspirational and uplifting tattoo ideas to choose from, but one symbol with a powerful message behind it is the semicolon. A semicolon is a punctuation mark that indicates a pause between two sentences and represents that although the sentence could have been ended, the author chose to continue after a brief respite.

According to Jennifer Covarrubias, clinical director of outpatient services at Mental Health Center of San Diego, the semicolon tattoo shares a similar meaning behind it. "The semicolon tattoo became a trend in 2013 when Project Semicolon started," Covarrubias tells POPSUGAR. "It's more than just a hashtag trend on Instagram — the semicolon tattoo is a powerful statement in support of those struggling with mental health conditions, substance use, and suicide."

Project Semicolon was founded by Amy Bluel, who said, "A semicolon is used when an author could've chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life." After Bluel lost her father to suicide, she formed the nonprofit organization to raise awareness about mental health. Project Semicolon encourages people to post images of their semicolon tattoos online, and the hashtag #semicolontattoo has over 90,000 posts on Instagram alone, where many people have shared their personal experiences and struggles with mental health.

Covarrubias adds, "The semicolon tattoo signifies a person's resiliency to keep going after a life challenge, suicidal ideation, or addiction. It's a mark of victory, hope, courage, and strength."

If a semicolon tattoo sounds like something you'd be interested in getting, keep scrolling. Ahead, we rounded up images of some of the best semicolon-tattoo ideas to inspire your next trip to the tattoo parlor.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Sun Semicolon

This semicolon tattoo gives a sunny twist on the classic design.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Tiny Semicolon

This dainty semicolon tattoo is small but carries a mighty message.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Arrow Semicolon

The forearm placement and addition of an arrow surrounding this semicolon tattoo make it unconventional but still beautiful.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Birds

If you're looking for a semicolon-tattoo design that's a little different, we love this one that incorporates birds sitting together.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Survivor and Hope

These two tattoos showcase the semicolon as part of two empowering words: "survivor" and "hope."

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Words

This large semicolon tattoo features empowering words written inside it. It can be customized with any words that have meaning to you personally.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Book

This semicolon is situated on the spine of an open book, symbolizing that they are only in the middle of their life story, with many pages to go.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Foot Placement

Semicolon tattoos can be placed anywhere, but this tiny one placed on the foot would be a great location if you want to keep your ink private.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Watercolor Butterfly

This semicolon tattoo features the semicolon as the body of a butterfly with beautiful blue-and-purple watercolor wings.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Continue

This semicolon tattoo symbolizes making the decision to pause and continue. The semicolon is designed as the "i" in the word continue.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Dragonfly

This design utilizes the semicolon to make the body of a dragonfly and has wings attached. Dragonflies symbolize change and transformation, which gives this tattoo a powerful message.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Penguin

This semicolon-tattoo features a detailed drawing of a penguin, who holds the period in this beak.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Dual Butterflies

This semicolon tattoo is subtle and showcases the semicolon as the body and head of one of the butterflies.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: I Am Enough

This semicolon tattoo packs a powerful message and features the words "I am enough" next to a butterfly with a semicolon body.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Sunflower

This semicolon tattoo features a sunflower that breaks off into tiny semicolons.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Special Numbers

The numbers in this tattoo have a special meaning, and the semicolon in between makes the message even more powerful.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Cat

Here, the top half of the semicolon is the cat's head, while the bottom is the body. This design could also be used for any animal special to you.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Flower

Here, the semicolon tattoo is made up of a flower and a leaf. This design features a daisy, but could be re-created with any flower.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Birds

This semicolon design placed on the forearm is bold and features birds breaking off into flight.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Just Breathe

This semicolon tattoo features an additional powerful message, "just breathe," with the semicolon as the letter "j."

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Butterfly Outline

This semicolon tattoo features a butterfly, but with a twist. It's just an outline with the semicolon at the tail, rather than an image of a butterfly with the semicolon as the body and head.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Hand and Moon

If you're looking to get a semicolon tattoo but you want the semicolon to be a little understated, we love this image of a hand holding a half moon with a tiny semicolon on the hand's wrist. It's dainty and subtle.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Heart

This sweet semicolon tattoo features an outline of a heart, with the semicolon making up a small section.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Graphic Cats

This unconventional semicolon tattoo is made up of two different cats that are curled up on themselves. This intricately detailed image could be swapped out for almost any animal that has special meaning to you.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Body

Different than many of the semicolon tattoos we've seen before, this one features the outline of a body with the semicolon as the person's belly button. It also features stormy clouds above where the head should be, which could represent their thoughts and feelings.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Still I Rise

This semicolon tattoo features mountains and words from Maya Angelou, "still I rise," where the semicolon is the letter "i."

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Paw Print

This semicolon-tattoo design features a paw print as the top half, which could pay special tribute to an animal in your life.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Butterfly With Quote

This semicolon butterfly tattoo is truly unique. While we've seen many with the body of the butterfly made up of a semicolon, the watercolor wings are distinctive and special. The addition of the quote that says "your story isn't over yet" makes it even more powerful.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Eye With Teardrops

This powerful image features a crying eye with a semicolon as a teardrop.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Warrior

We've seen a lot of semicolon tattoos that feature a powerful word spelled out using the semicolon as a letter. This tattoo in particular features the word "warrior" with the "i" as a semicolon — a reminder to always be brave even in the face of adversity.

Semicolon-Tattoo Idea: Moon

Half-moon tattoos are often seen as a sign of femininity, and this one also features a semicolon. The intricate design is both beautiful and meaningful.