20 Traditional Samoan Tattoo Designs And Meanings

The most commonly used Polynesian word in the English language is tattoo. When and how the word ‘tattoo’ came to be used is the topic of many a debate but there is no doubt that it is a modification of the Polynesian word ‘Tatua’. Thus, Samoan tattoos are in fact the original kind of tattoos. Their designs have a typically tribal look and they are always black and not colored. Yet they always manage to look exquisite and complicated.

samoan tattoo

Samoan tattoos feature a lot of shells. These are mostly turtle shells which represent longevity, fertility, wellness and peace. At other times it shows sea shells which symbolize shields, protection and intimacy. They also use the ‘Marquesan cross’, which symbolizes the delicate balance between the different elements of nature. There are several other such typical symbols that are used by Samoan tattoos. These tattoos are generally widespread and cover large lengths of your body.

Samoan Tattoos Meanings And Images For Men And Women:

A Samoan Tattoo is a beautiful example for overall body art. If you are warrior, a fighter by nature then you should go for the Samoan nature. In this article we have list of collection top most Samoan tattoo designs with pictures and meaning for you.

1. Neckline Samoan Tattoo:


What a manly look this Samoan design is. The look reminds us the ancient warriors. There is a face that resembles like a holy sun that is worshiped the other designs covering the neck line gives a feeling of an empire. Wrestlers or men loving war and fights would love to ink such designed Samoan Tattoo to show his male strength.

The roots of the Samoan culture, the Tatau art goes beyond only adornment but also symbolizes manhood and tribal facts. It shows the essential rite of passage in Samoan tribe. In a way it gives a jewelry design too. The neck line the elbows are so awesomely carved with fine art that resemble like jewelry piece. The outline is given a blur shade that gives embossed design looking like a 3D pattern.

2. Diagonal Body Tattoos:

Diagonal body tattoos

We have all seen a lot of full body and full back designs when it comes to Samoan style tattoos and also a lot of chest and leg designs but this one is very different from the rest. This can be rated as one of the most stylish Samoan tribal tattoo designs and the positioning is the plus point here.

Here the whole design is done on the front portion if the body and is spread from one corner to the other in a diagonal manner. It is a rich design and thus covers a major part of the body but that too in a way that it looks very neat and clean.

3. Samoan Floral Tattoo Designs On Arm:

Floral Tattoo designs

Floral designs give us a lot of options to choose from even when we are talking about tribal or Samoan tattoos. It is not necessary that we are getting a rose inked on your body because you want a floral pattern. If you take a closer look at this Samoan tattoo, you will find a hibiscus with band Samoan elaborations on both sides of it to cover the top portion of the forearm beautifully. The typical Samoan patterns look very smart and graphical and it is a cool one for both men and women.

4.  Simple Samoan Tattoo On Back:


This is a simple and sober design among the Samoan Tattoos. The pattern made in the circular limits are symbolizing waves of the ocean, the upper round in the circle consists of shark teeth pattern. Likewise, all patterns in a Polynesian tattoo mean something or the other that is a part of the traditions belief.

This circular Samoan tattoo looks good on men as well as women, because of its simplicity. The dark inked pattern emphasizes its beauty. This design of a Samoan Tattoo can be made also on the back. Modern Samoan tattoo includes this pattern. Modern Samoan designs include geometrical shapes, circular designs other than the traditional Polynesian sharp edged shapes.

5. Feathery Feminine Samoan Tattoo:


What a beautiful pattern. Any girl would love the design on her first sight. And why only girls? Boys would love to have his eye on such a beautifully backless tattoo wearing girl. The Samoan Tattoo has awesome blends with meaningful patterns making feather like design.

People around the world who are Samoan culture influenced often add symbols related to nature that include butterflies, bird, turtle, shark teeth, feathers etc. people even carve a tattoo behind the ear though it is quite painful. But, people go through the pain for their passion.

See More: Samurai Tattoo Designs

6. Samoan Spinal Tattoo For Girls:

This is a design that runs along your entire spine and forms its structure with the help of typical Polynesian symbols. The assembly of these symbols goes on to express different meanings. But when looked at by a layman it looks like a beautiful drawing of your spine.

7. Full Body Samoan Tattoo:


Men and women both among today’s youngsters love to do whole body art. There are many Tattoo designs people make on their body. Among them the most popular designs are the Samoan Tattoos. Samoan tattoo designs cover a large area with its patterns that are flawless and can be continued endlessly.

One can cover the whole leg or the whole arm with a simple black color and few patterns in between. Or instead pattern with symbols. People who choose to ink the whole body with the Samoan tattoo designs are much strong by nature and can handle and bear the pain of tattooing on even soft parts of the body. The accuracy in these designs is more than other tattoo designs.

8. Samoan Foot Tattoo For Women:

These include floral patterns with the other typical Polynesian symbols. The flowers make it look more feminine and these tattoo designs are thus opted for only by women

9. Samoan Forearm Tattoo:

This tattoo fits your forearm like an exquisite band. It looks like some ornament that would be worn by the old Egyptian pharaohs. It has the same overall look like the other Samoan tattoos but means whatever the symbols included in it symbolize.

10. Samoan Chest Tattoo Sleeve Design:

Samoan chest tattoo

Since Samoan designs at their best are the ones which cover and extend over broad areas, this one can be easily listed among of the best Samoan tattoo designs. Here the top portion of the chest is beautifully inked with a very neat design and it is also camouflaging the muscles of the toned chest.

This design particularly is a version of the butterfly with a lot of tribal patterns to make it look very different and innovative. The shaded parts and lines make the whole thing look so technical and it is hard to believe that it is the work of the human hand only.

See More: Mermaid Tattoo Designs

11. The Samoan Turtle Tattoo Design:

The turtle in the Samoan culture is an important animal. In general it symbolizes longevity, wellness and peace. Turtle shells are commonly used in Samoan tattoo designs.

12. Samoan Full Leg Tattoo For Men:

This kind of a tattoo stretches through the entire length of your calf muscles. It includes all the typical Polynesian symbols of the ocean, fish and so on. The great skill of the Samoan tattoos is in the excellent way the different symbols are assembled to blend into one another and emerge as a beautiful design!

13. Samoan Back Tattoo Design:

Samoan back tattoos

It is an elaborate chapter if we want to know in detail Samoan tattoo designs and meanings but it is a very interesting one too. We have seen a lot of back tattoos till date but these Samoan tattoos look bolder than many others. These are warrior like tattoos and depict a lot of bravery which is usually found in Samoan tribal tattoos. Such looks of the tattoos makes them great options for men who love broad designs to flaunt their backs.

14. Circle Samoan Tattoos:

Circular Samoan Tattoos

There is always a difference between Catholic tattoo designs and the rest but it is wrong if you think that cross is only used in the former one. In this Samoan tattoo you will see there is a circular pattern and a cross in the middle but this cross is more of a tribal cross symbol rather than a Catholic cross. There are a number of other symbols and designs in this small tattoo also. This tattoo is very neat and clean and can thus be made a part of anywhere on the body.

15. Feather Samoan Tattoo:

Feather Samoan tattoo

When we are talking about Samoan tattoo designs we are not only talking about Tribal designs and warrior prints. There is a lot of other variety to Samoan designs such as this one. This is a feather tattoo with the same Samoan curves and prints inside the feather.

The level of skill is very well visible here with all the intricate curves and symbols and this is one reason for which Samoan tattoos are famous all over the world, They look so graphical and the measurements are just so perfect from all angles.

16. Samoan Tribal Shoulder Tattoo:

This kind covers your entire shoulder blade and a large part of your upper bicep. It includes the normal symbols with swirls and spirals to fill in the gaps. The ocean symbols often help in this task. The ocean in the Samoan culture symbolized death to the world beyond because the Samoan people believed that the ocean is where one went after they died.

17. Samoan Full Arm Tattoo:

This kind of a tattoo runs along the length of your entire arm. It is like a full sleeve tattoo. It looks like a part of an Armour that you may be wearing. It sports the typical Polynesian symbols and looks as excellent as all the other Samoan tattoos.


18. Samoan Tattoo Sun On Arm For Men’s:

Suns are a part of many Samoan tattoos. They are generally included with other typical symbols to express important meanings. The sun in the Samoan culture stands for riches, brightness, grandeur and leadership. This is the more general meaning of the sun. But this can be varied with the use of other symbols and designs. The kind of rays that are used or the sun’s expressions etc are important determinants of what the tattoo actually symbolizes.

19. Samoan Face Tattoo Design:

This tattoo goes over your face and neck. It gives you a daunting ancient warrior look. It includes symbols like the spearhead which shows courage and a warrior’s skill and the ‘enata’, which are Polynesian human forms representing god and its power.

20. The Tradition Patterns Of Tiki Face In Samoan Tattoo:


This is one of the original designs of Samoan Tattoo that comes in a Polynesian tradition. The design in this tattoo consists of a face that has a design named under Tiki patterns, the other patterns joining it mean differently according to the tradition. There are specific names given to different patterns made of different parts of the body.

See More: Maori Tattoo Designs And Meanings

For example, number of lines made in the design, the form placed on the posterior, this all differs with the nature of the person recognized in the society. Let’s say the turtle, the sea shells, the face of human, the skull; the shark teeth, mouse, waves of the ocean etc. are major and highly used patterns.

Thus Samoan tattoo designs are here differentiated from Tribal tattoo designs which is a very commonly made mistake and we have also got to know that there can be hundreds of varieties of these tattoos from which we can choose the best ones.

So here are beautiful Samoan Tattoo Designs that follow the Polynesian culture. Men and women largely go for the Samoan Designs as it looks very beautiful from far and is eye pleasing. You can go to an expert tattoo design maker who knows the history of the Polynesian Culture and knows about the various patterns that are included in the tradition as it describes something peculiar about it.

People with hard nature strong in means of bearing pain and hardships come under such choices. There are even girls that opt for hard designs when they are going through hard time of life. The tattoos reflect the thoughts of human mind, so choose your tattoo accordingly.