Butterfly Tattoos: What Do They Mean

Butterfly tattoos are beautiful. They’re a very popular design, especially among women, but there are also becoming popular among men.

But do you know what butterfly tattoos mean? They can have multiple meanings, and you can create your own meaning. So yes, they’re not the most original tattoo, but you can create your own special design around the butterfly symbol and truly make it unique!

And, if you want to get inspired by one or different meanings of butterfly tattoos, you’re at the right place! This article gives you all the different meanings of butterfly tattoos. It will also give you all the tools you need to know if you would like to get a butterfly tattoo and which one you should get.

Different Butterfly Meanings

First, here are all the butterfly tattoos meanings there are.

Rebirth And Transformation

The first meaning of a butterfly tattoo is rebirth or transformation. A butterfly starts as a caterpillar, envelops itself in a cocoon, and then comes out of its chrysalis, transforms into a butterfly. This carries a lot of symbolism, which a lot of people identify with.

This can signify that you went through a physical, psychological, or even through a spiritual transformation. A butterfly tattoo is often the sign of a new beginning, of a change, just like with an actual butterfly.

Or a butterfly tattoo can symbolize a rebirth, a metamorphosis. It’s a new version of yourself after a traumatic experience, for example, or just after difficult times in your life. It does not have to only symbolize a painful experience. It can also symbolize you are coming out of your shelf and being more confident.

So this idea of rebirth and resurrection actually comes from a long ago, from the Bible, in fact, in the parable of the butterfly. In this Bible passage, the butterfly is a symbol for the rebirth of the soul, which is also linked to Jesus Christ and his resurrection.

Personal Freedom And Hope

Butterfly tattoos can also be an expression of freedom and liberation. They can also signify hope. In some way, it’s like when the actual caterpillar transforms into a butterfly and is freed from its cocoon.

The butterfly begins as an earthbound insect and then transforms into an insect that can fly, which is incredible. It’s not only a physical change and transformation but also a spiritual one. So you can liberate yourself as well from your fears, and you can achieve your dreams.

If a caterpillar can fly, you can also achieve your fullest potential and get a butterfly tattoo to symbolize your new freedom.

Beauty And Grace

A butterfly tattoo can symbolize several things like beauty, dignity, grace. An actual caterpillar transforms into a beautiful, graceful butterfly. A butterfly is rare and is beautiful. If one passes by, you’ll surely look at it and admire its beauty.

But also, some people get butterfly tattoos just because they are aesthetical, and that’s perfectly fine too! Your body is a piece of art.

Good Luck

A lot of cultures and people believe that a butterfly means good luck. So if you believe a butterfly can bring you luck, then getting a butterfly tattoo could be a good idea.


Butterflies can be associated with womanhood and femininity. So if you want to celebrate your femininity, a butterfly tattoo could be for you!


In Ancient Greece, butterflies were important. In fact, in Greek, Psyche, the butterfly, means both butterfly and the soul. There are only three occurrences in texts of Psyche being used to mean butterfly. But if you like that it can mean both the soul and butterfly, then it’s a good reason to get a butterfly tattoo!

So the soul can be liberated from the body, like a butterfly from its cocoon.


As for the Aztec culture, the butterfly is also full of symbolism, as it refers to the souls of past warriors. It can also refer to the souls of infants who died in strange ways. So a butterfly is a remembrance of these past souls that are eternal.

So if you want to remember someone special in your life or just find a meaning in this mortality symbolism, a butterfly tattoo could be ideal for you.

Butterfly Effect

Some people get butterfly tattoos because they love the theory of the butterfly effect. So what is the butterfly effect, you might wonder? Edward Lorenz, a meteorologist, discovered the butterfly effect. It’s the concept that something as small as butterfly wings in Brazil could lead to a tornado in Texas.

Then, Ray Bradbury, the sci-fi writer who wrote the famous 1984, wrote about the butterfly effect in The Sound Of Thunder, as we know it today. It’s basically the idea that every little action that we take, no matter how insignificant it seems, leads to a major change in our lives.

So getting this symbolic tattooed is also popular, as many people believe that the butterfly effect changed their lives.

Butterfly Tattoos Designs

Some people want their butterfly tattoos to have their wings colored. What’s great about tattoos is you can get them anywhere on your body that you want, and you can get them monochrome, with color and different sizes.

You can design your own butterfly tattoo and ask your tattoo artist for help too. But if you need some inspiration, here are some beautiful butterfly tattoo ideas you could get:

One Butterfly Tattoo

This simple tattoo can mean so many things, and you can give it even more meaning by personalizing it, changing its size, color, or just leave it empty and have the contours of a butterfly drawn by a simple black line. This will leave room for the imagination.

Two Butterfly Tattoo

Two butterflies together symbolize love in Chinese culture. In Chinese culture, butterflies can also be a symbol of joy. So if you identify with either joy or love, definitely get this butterfly tattoo.

Small Butterfly Tattoo

If you want a delicate and subtle tattoo, a small butterfly tattoo could be good for you. It’s especially good if this is your first tattoo or you just want to be able to hide it easily. You can place it on your ankle or wrist, for example, if you want to make it easy to hide, if your work environment is more strict, for example.

But the placement is up to you! Different tattoo placements also have different meanings, so you can choose the one that seems right to you. I don’t talk about butterfly tattoo placements here, as it is really personal for each person.

Tiny Butterfly Tattoo

If you want an even smaller tattoo that’s cuter and subtle, you can get a tiny butterfly tattoo.

Skull And Butterfly Tattoo

This tattoo is a mix of a skull and a butterfly, and there can be some flowers in there. This can represent mortality, the circle of life, or life itself. At the end of the day, you choose the meaning of your tattoo! And a tattoo doesn’t always have to have a meaning. It can be purely aesthetical.

Rose And Butterfly Tattoo

This tattoo is a combination of a rose and a butterfly. It often is a symbol of love and transformation. So if you identify with those, this is an original butterfly tattoo to get.

Monarch Butterfly Tattoo

This is a timeless tattoo that represents royalty and beauty. You can either get a traditional monarch butterfly tattoo or make it more contemporary and original by filling the inside of the butterfly’s wings with flowers, for example.

Large Butterfly Tattoo

Or you can go the opposite direction. You can get a large butterfly tattoo, so it looks like you have wings of your own, and it can symbolize your rebirth.

Black And White Butterfly Tattoo

This is a tattoo that stands the test of time, and that has a lot of impact. You can be really creative with shading with this tattoo, and you can also make it delicate. Just be careful to take extra care of your tattoo, as black ink can fade if the tattoo is not properly maintained.

So make sure you hydrate and moisturize your skin and follow the recommendations of your professional tattoo artist.

Colorful Butterfly Tattoo

If you have a more outgoing personality, getting a colorful butterfly tattoo might be perfect for you. Or, it can just be that you prefer color on your tattoos in general and find them more aesthetic. Both are great reasons to get a colorful butterfly tattoo.

Watercolor Butterfly Tattoo

If you want your body to look like a work of art, a watercolor butterfly tattoo could be for you.  It looks amazing, especially with colors, and is truly unique. Just remember that a watercolor tattoo might not last as long as a traditional tattoo.

Butterfly Tattoo With Words

Your butterfly tattoo can be joined by a word or a quote that is close to your heart. This will carry even more meaning to the different symbolics of a butterfly. You could even tattoo a name of a person you love.

Realistic Butterfly Tattoo

This is a new style of tattoo, so you have to make sure that you find a qualified tattoo artist in realism. Realistic tattoos are really hard to achieve, but they look amazing. If you get a realistic butterfly tattoo, it will look like the butterfly chose to stay on you. You can then choose whatever kind of butterfly you want on you permanently.

Aesthetic Butterfly Tattoo

This can mean any tattoo that you find visually appealing. It can include botanical elements, geography elements, and a butterfly together, for example.

Black Butterfly Tattoo

A black butterfly tattoo can mean a lot of things. It’s often done as a Celtic or Tribal tattoo, and it usually means some kind of spiritual or physical death of people who meant a lot to you. It can also mean dealing with the passing of time, aging.

So death, loss, and age can be the meaning of the black butterfly tattoo.

Blue Butterfly Tattoo

This is one of the most popular butterfly tattoos you can get. A blue butterfly tattoo is supposed to represent good luck and also joy. That’s almost certainly because butterflies, especially blue butterflies, are rare.

Purple Butterfly Tattoo

A purple butterfly tattoo means resiliency, often for an illness that wasn’t perceptible at first. In fact, purple butterflies are used in hospitals are shown to signify resilience against illnesses.

Red Butterfly Tattoo

Red butterfly tattoos are either a symbol of fear or can be a good sign. Native Americans believe it’s a good sign and that you will get lucky. But a red butterfly can also mean danger and anger. In Scotland, red butterflies are sometimes said to be witches in disguise!

A red butterfly can also symbolize passion and love because of its red color. So whatever significance you identify with most, or if you identify with all of them, getting a red butterfly tattoo could be good for you.

Pink Butterfly Tattoo

Pink butterfly tattoos can symbolize compassion and love. So if you want a beautiful, feminine butterfly tattoo, this could be the ideal tattoo for you.

Yellow Butterfly Tattoo

The yellow butterfly tattoo symbolizes joy and happiness. This ideology comes from the Chinese culture. Plus, in Scotland and Ireland, it is believed that if you see a yellow butterfly on someone’s grave, that person is at peace.

So getting a yellow butterfly tattoo can either signify joy or represent a loved person that passed.

White Butterfly Tattoo

White symbolizes purity, and that’s what that butterfly tattoo represents. A lot of Christians decide to get a white butterfly tattoo, as a white butterfly often refers to Jesus Christ himself and his purity, as explained above.

There are so many more styles of tattoos you can get, and you can also imagine another style! That’s the beauty of tattoos.

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