Most Popular Languages for Getting a Tattoo, Ranked
Once illegal in many parts of the world, tattoos have come a long way in becoming globally accepted. Though most are still graphic in nature, getting quote or word tattoos is a common practice. And people express interest in messages not only in their native language but also in ones they simply find beautiful.
Of course, this sometimes has hilarious consequences, as with now-famous cases of people tattooing random words like "soup" in another language, thinking it was something deep like "courage." But if you do this respectfully and actually do your research, you can end up with a piece of art that is meaningful and beautiful.
These are the most popular languages for quote and word tattoos, ranked.
10. English Tattoos
Annual search demand: 9,240
Over 9,000 people search for English-language tattoos every year. Of course, the number of tattoos in English is higher since native speakers probably aren't searching for words. But because the language continues to dominate global pop culture, it makes sense people in other countries want to use it for their tattoos.
*Ranking and annual search demand are based on Preply's "The Most Popular Types of Language Tattoos" 2022-23 report.
9. Italian Tattoos
Annual search demand: 19,080
Italian is an undeniably beautiful language, so we can't blame anyone for wanting it on their body. However, we have the uncomfortable inkling that many of these people are probably tattooing phrases like "la dolce vita."
Yes, it's their body, and they can do whatever they want. But that doesn't make it less cringy.
8. Spanish Tattoos
Annual search demand: 26,160
Spanish-language music is taking over the world and amazing fans of all nationalities, so it's not surprising that people will want ink in the language.
We also suspect that many children of the Latin American diaspora who have grown up in the U.S. or elsewhere use these tattoos to reconnect with their heritage.
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7. French Tattoos
Annual search demand: 27,960
French has been romanticized for centuries, so it seems fitting that anyone fantasizing about "la vie en rose" will want a French tattoo. In fact, we bet that Emily will get a "Paris, je t'aime" tattoo before the series is over.
Of course, plenty of people get awesome tattoos in the language that successfully avoid being basic. We believe in you.
6. Greek Tattoos
Annual search demand: 37,800
Given that the western world continues to use many of the principles of ancient Greece, it's no wonder people are still fascinated with the language. Of course, modern Greek is very different, but the alphabet is exactly the same. And it's very cool looking.
Most people seek a piece that will let them take ancient wisdom anywhere they go. Others probably have more personal phrases that they want to remember. Images from paintings depicting ancient Greece are also very popular.
5. Korean Tattoos
Annual search demand: 40,920
As K-pop and K-dramas gain more fans, more people are waking up to the beauty of hangul, the Korean writing system. Invented by King Sejong the Great, hangul is said to be one of the easiest alphabets to learn. It's also completely unique, which makes it visually appealing and perfect for tattoos.
We predict that Korean tattoos will become as popular as those in other Asian languages in no time.
4. Latin Tattoos
Annual search demand: 53,400
In the tattoo community, Latin is far from a dead language. Like Greek, Latin attracts people interested in ancient philosophers and politicians. The most common tattoo in the language is "carpe diem," which translates to "seize the day." To be honest, it's unimaginative and overdone, though the message is good.
If you want the same message but don't want to be too cliché, get "memento mori," which translates to "remember that you will die."
3. Arabic Tattoos
Annual search demand: 81,600
Arabic tattoos are popular amongst both Arabs and non-Arabs because of the language's undeniable beauty. Its soft strokes simply lend themselves to works of art.
While spoken Arabic varies widely from country to country (and even region to region), the writing system is the same throughout.
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2. Chinese Tattoos
Annual search demand: 184,800
In the early 2000s, it seemed like absolutely everyone had a Chinese tattoo. But because many of these people got the tattoos before Google existed, it made for embarrassing moments. (Well, embarrassing for them, hilarious for everyone else once the tattoo's actual meaning was revealed.)
Chinese still dominates as the second most popular language for tattoos, which is unsurprising given the aesthetic appeal of hanzi, or Chinese characters. Just do yourself a favor and check the design before committing to it. Also, make sure your tattoo artist is fluent in Chinese, as even a tiny line can change the entire meaning of the character.
1. Japanese Tattoos
Annual search demand: 231,240
People covet Japanese tattoos more than tattoos in any other language.
Modern Japanese uses three writing systems — hiragana , katakana and kanji — to create thousands of symbols. This makes it more visually complex than languages that use alphabets, which, of course, translates into beautiful word tattoos.
Of course, people searching for Japanese tattoos are also likely searching for images that follow traditional or modern drawing styles. These have proven extremely popular in the community, especially with the rise of manga fans around the world.